school garden

school garden

Monday, 24 November 2014

"There are no rules of architecture....

for a castle in the sky"

A quote from Gilbert Chesterton.

We start with some dramatic pictures of the sunset over the school garden this weekend.  No artist can create such magnificence.  Nature will win every time!

Wonderful stuff and good for the soul!

Back to the garden. At the end of the week ten tons of topsoil were delivered to make good the main growing beds and profile the planting areas around the Jurassic Garden.  The old tired soil was removed from the salad and vegetable beds and wheel-barrowed down to the Jurassic area and a barrow load of fresh top soil was taken back.  No-one was allowed to be seen with an empty wheelbarrow!

The arrival of ten tons of fresh topsoil

A busy scene in the garden on Saturday
The replenished salad bed

Digging out the old soil
Ready for planting next Spring

The last of the vegetables were dug up- carrots and a few small turnips.  They will not be wasted!  Half the makings of a good stew

The pile of soil soon started to disappear
All gone!

Redefining the main planting area with more interest
Colour was not only in the sky this weekend.  The golden leaves of autumn carpeted the grass.  The Field Maple is particularly stunning

Finally the details for the carol service.  It will be held 17.00 hrs on Saturday December 6th in the School  Garden.  Do join us. Bring a torch and a warm coat and a seat if you wish.  The school choir will once again delight us and the  garden will be flood light.  If wet weather prevails it will be held in the School Hall

This next week more stone will be delivered to finish off the base layers of the paths around the Jurassic area. It will then remain for just the top of the paths to be made good with a finer aggregate and then we must wait until next Spring when we can start planting up. Exciting times are ahead!!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

"Will you walk into my parlour.....

said the spider to the fly?

The opening line from Mary Howitt's delightful and deep meaningful poem.  The Spider and the Fly is well worth a read!

Following on the Pitcher plants have been active lately catching a lot of prey items- possibly before they shut down for the winter months. A couple of visits to the greenhouse over the weekend revealed wasps, large bluebottle flies and smaller winged insects all falling victim to the allure of these plants.  Once they land on the slippery sides of the trumpet there is no going back!

The stunning colour of the Pitcher plant

Wasp in trouble!

Bluebottle fly about to get into trouble!

The final construction of the Jurassic Garden was also completed.  The nest area and the nest itself was adjusted and fixed.  A membrane was laid down to prevent weeds from poking through.  It is hoped to get the first delivery of stone in during the next week.

Four pictures of the completed nest area with the membrane down ready for the stone material. The large area of earth will be built up with topsoil ready for the planting of ferns and suitable 'Jurassic' plants next Spring.  We are hoping to make the planting as interesting as possible.

Colour still survives in the garden.  A few Calendulas are still in flower and there are plenty of fungi about including the delightful Sulphur Tuft.

Sulphur Tuft mushrooms

Calendula - still flowering!

A recent avian visitor to the garden has been a Yellow-browed Warbler.  These small rare birds occur annually at this time of the year from the Siberian taiga forests.  They are very small and have a distinctive and plaintive call. We found this picture from the internet.

Yellow-browed Warbler

Finally it is intended to once again hold a carol service in the school garden following on from last years great success. The provisional date is December 6th.  More details later.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

"In the practice of tolerance.....

one's enemy is the best teacher"

The Dalai Llama

First the weather for October was very interesting.  The tail end of Hurricane Gonzala swept across Southern Britain during the latter part of the month.  The following graphs from our weather station show the picture. Click on each graph to enlarge.

The rainfall figures- a lot of red!

Outside temperatures took a dip mid-month but recovered

The wind peaked at 14metres/sec (about 31mph)
Back in the garden, the bad weather over the weekend restricted activity but the final construction stage in the Jurassic area was pegged down ready to fix and secure.  The nest area itself took a while to shape properly but with a bit of maths and elbow grease it all fell into place.  The next stage then will be the delivery of the material to fill the area and make good before the final layer is positioned to finish the path areas off properly

The overall view across the Jurassic area

A few vegetables remain in the garden.  The curly kale is still growing well.  It is a good contender for next year again as the pigeons do not seem to touch it.  Perhaps they are not familiar with the leaves!  Also a few turnips remain and a single Swiss Chard plant.

The curly kale

The last of the turnips

Colourful Swiss Chard

The Jay continues to frequent the garden and has now found the bird feeding area.  They are colourful birds and members of the Crow family.  They usually fly off long before you get close to them and show their white rump as they disappear into the trees.

The handsome Jay
The Echiums which we transplanted a few weeks ago are growing well.

Hopefully the ground will dry sufficiently by the weekend to enable the final construction in the Jurassic area to the be completed.  We finish off with a plea.  The garden group need some topsoil to build up the growing areas in the Jurassic garden.  If any readers know of any topsoil which is going (for free) please contact the school office. Thanks!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

NO WIND......


A Chinese proverb

For the past few weeks Grey Wagtails have been regularly visiting the school pond.  They have a much longer tail than the usual Pied Wagtail and have a lemon yellow colour on the underparts.  They were watched over the weekend walking over the lily pads catching insects flying across the water and dipping into the water to catch prey in the water itself.

The very handsome Grey Wagtail
Work proceeded in the Jurassic garden and the final short lengths of path were linked up with the nest area.

The only construction left to do now is the actual nest site itself and then the remaining aggregate can be delivered and the site finished properly with the compactor to make the surface weatherproof and level.  Then we can move on and landscape the growing areas ready for planting.

The paper bark Birch Tree
The paper bark Birch tree is undergoing the annual peeling when the old layer of thin bark is discarded as the tree grows ever bigger. It is a beautiful tree and the white bark is stunning in the winter light

These magnificent Boletus mushrooms have appeared by the school gates.  Some of them are quite edible and favoured on the Continent.  They often grow to the size of a dinner plate.

Holm Oak acorns
The Jay has been a busy bird.  There are lots of acorns buried or half buried around the garden. These were found with just a sycamore leaf covering them.  Perhaps the bird left in a hurry hoping that nobody would spot them!

A female Goldcrest

A picture of the head
The Goldcrest was caught and ringed in the bird garden.  The female has a yellow stripe and the male has an orange strip within the yellow.  These tiny birds weigh just 5 gms!  They need to find a lot of spiders to survive.

The Venus Fly-trap
The Venus Fly-trap has managed to secure a meal.  The closed leaf looks very formidable. No escape for the poor victim!