school garden

school garden

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Wonderful bees....

Bees are are essential part of agriculture and harvest.  Without them the human race would be in trouble. Most people run or cower when a bee gets just that little bit too close but they will not harm you. The bee is on a mission and just wants to complete the job. The school garden now contains a good range of flowering plants which are sympathetic to bees and cover a large part of the year.  This year we are leaving large areas of grass uncut to help the invertebrates. Already a lot of red clover is appearing and other flowering plants which will help the cause. Butterflies and moths in particular favour grasses.

The garden group continues to monitor and record the bee species which we see in the garden.  Three new species have recently been recorded. Bees are wonderful insects.  Through the lens the fine detail of the hairs and the legs and the jaws reveal something which we do not usually see as they scurry by or buzz from one flower to another.

Tree Bumblebee with loaded pollen baskets
The Tree Bumblebee is now regularly recorded in the garden.  We have  modified one of our bird nest boxes in the hope that the Tree Bumblebee might nest in there instead.

Early Bumblebee

Early Bumblebee - close up!. You can see the jaws

Mining bee awaiting identification. Not thought to be Ashy Mining Bee

Small Mining Bee awaiting identification

The same bee from above
We are hoping to have these two unidentified bees sorted fairly soon.  The list of bees recorded in the garden continues to grow.

Monday, 26 May 2014

The Fence (part three)

"It does not matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop"


Following on from last weekend when the weather put paid to any work on the fence the garden group have finally finished the new perimeter fence for the garden.  There is just the gate to do now and then we can return to gardening matters.  The fence has been an interesting if not unplanned build. Recycling the old fencing from the school swimming pool has presented a few challenges but the result has been worth it.

The removable section is finished

Tools of the trade

The new fence line towards the school

The new fence line towards the gates

In the bee nest box recent activity has been noticed with lots of new nest chambers and eggs laid amongst freshly gathered pollen- yellow in the pictures.

Recent activity

New chambers in the bee box
The bees are possibly Red Mason Bees- Osmia rufa -  but we will have to wait a while!  In the garden the same day  there were plenty of bees about including a new type for the garden. A female of the Coelioxys group was spotted. They are small black bees and difficult to get to grips with. Other bumble bees noted were Garden Bumblebee, Tree Bumblebee, Common Carder Bee, Buff tailed bumble bee and Red tailed Bumblebee.  The bees are attracted to the geranium 'Rozanne' which is now growing well.

The first Broad-bodied chaser (Libellula depressa) dragonfly of the year was noted and a damselfly which got away before we could identify it.

In the pond the vegetation is growing well and the stands of water figwort looks very impressive. The Yellow Flags are in flower but it is a shame that they do not last long.

'Rozanne'- a favourite for many bee species

The Yellow Flags
We lost one of these magnificent flowering spikes in the recent wind but we have now propped up the last few remaining specimens in the hope that they will last well into the summer.

Trailing tomatoes in their new holders

Class 4T

Mrs Palmer's magnificent potato plot

There are a  few class plots still waiting to be planted up!
The Strawberry bed is looking good with plenty of strawberries now forming. The net will have to be positioned this week before the Blackbirds find them .  The Raspberry bed has been pruned and already the selected stems left  are making good progress with flower buds forming.

The Strawberry bed
With the fence finished work can focus on the garden again. There is much to be done.  The small garden group always welcome new members.  The work is enjoyable and rewarding. Should you be interested contact the school office

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The Fence (part 2)

"Fear is the highest fence".

A quote by Dudley Nicholls.

Last Saturday the garden group continued with the new perimeter fence.  Work progressed well and by the end of the day most of the fence line had been replaced.
Step one

Step two

Step three

Step four

Along with the fence other jobs were done in the garden and a general tidy up was made.  The blossom  show continues

The Bird-cherry is looking good!

The Rowan flowers are very profuse

A delightful rock rose is also flowering - small but very attractive

Working about the garden we saw several Ashy-mining bees.  They are one of the most attractive bees. We have recorded them before but a picture is worthwhile

Ashy mining bee
  The pigeons have found our produce.  Once again serious measures need to be taken.  The growing Barley and the Mange Tout  are their targets but we have taken precautions

The Barley is covered

Metal mesh and 'scarey' tape over the Mange Tout
The potatoes in class 2P's bed are doing very well.  Class 4T has also kick started the class bed planting

Class 4T

Class 2P
The last job of the weekend was to get the hanging baskets planted up and positioned in the greenhouse to get them growing well before putting out.

Hopefully the fence will be finished within the next seven days and the garden group can return to the garden proper.  Plenty of jobs still to do!