school garden

school garden

Thursday, 14 December 2017

"Forgive many things in others;

nothing in yourself"

Ansonius- a Roman poet and teacher 310-395AD

 It is a quiet time in the garden as the nights draw in and the days grow shorter but the past few weekends the garden group have been busy tidying up.  One job was to sort out the three large compost bins and make use of the good compost found.

Another important job was to relocate the ornamental banana plant.  It will not tolerate the cold so it had be carefully dug up and placed in a large container.  It has been stored in the summer house for the winter months.

The tetrapanax tree is flowering.  The leaves on the tree are huge and the flowers so small and delicate

Flowers on the tetrapanax tree

The huge leaves

Pansy plants have been placed in the baskets.  After just two days the pigeons had found them and were grazing the leaves.  Something had to be done!

Pigeon proofing the pansy plants!

In the greenhouse the living stones and succulents are thriving.  They do not need watering at this time of the year

Lithops- the living stones

The impressive fish-hook cactus

The moth trap was run on a few calm and warm evenings and this magnificent Cosmopolitan moth was trapped.  A relatively scarce migrant moth to the UK.  It was of course released unharmed along with the others.

Cosmopolitan moth
As the term came to a close the traditional carol service was held in the garden.  The garden group volunteers had floodlit the garden as in previous years. About 100 people turned up for the service and many commented on the excellent performance by the school choir. Prior to setting up the evening sky was spectcular

 Some photographs were taken of the garden with the flash

Tree ferns


Chain fern

The atmosphere was set for the carol service

 The large crowd attending the carol service

 Finally the garden group wish all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Happy Christmas one and all!

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

"When the wind of change blows......

some people build walls and some people build windmills"

Chinese proverb

With the summer rapidly coming to a close the emphasis in the garden is tidying and making good.  Work started a few weeks ago in creating a new wildlife friendly border at the back of the garden against the wall.  The group has found enough plants from cutting and splitting others to fill the new border. Wildlife moved in quickly and a slow-worm was seen recently basking on the warm soil.

The tall echiums have done their job and once the bees had stopped feeding on the delicate blue flowers they were taken down before they fell.  The stems proved to be very difficult to deal with.  Eventually a bow saw was used to cut them up into manageable lengths.  They are very prickly so gloves are essential when handling these plants!

Tidying pots and compost bags often reveals some spectacular spiders.

Wood louse eating spider- they bite!

Looking frightening but quite harmless!

There is still a lot of colour in the garden which continues to attract bees and butterflies





The Common Carder Bee is one of the few bees still on the wing.

Red Admiral butterflies have been arriving on the South coast from Europe over the past few weeks.  Often they are in pristine condition but this one looks like it has had a close brush with a bird as a beak sized chunk is missing from the wing

Red Admiral feeding on the Aster flowers

The 'paper-bark' Silver Birch trees are at their best now. A gentle pruning of the lower branches was required to keep the trees well balanced and looking good

The spectacular peeling bark

The freshly pruned tree

The birch tree catkins 
Our Tetrapanax tree is reaching for the sky!

The attractive flowers on the Tetrapanax

We have been kindly given a second Tetrapanax tree which has been planted nearby to help create an even more Jurassic feel about the lower end of the garden.

The newly planted Tetrapanax

The chain ferns are at their best now and close inspection of the fronds reveals where why they are called as such!

Autumn is here and the trees are responding.  The sycamore leaves are turning brown and the 'helicopter' seeds are falling all over the garden. The leaves on the Ginkgo tree are slowly  turning.

The Ginkgo getting ready for the winter shutdown!
The next large job in the garden involves the pond which needs a lot of attention and thinning out.  The water lilies are taking over reducing open water for the water boatmen and pond skaters. Hopefully a few dry weekends will help the job along!

Monday, 4 September 2017

"Remember not getting what you want.

is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck"

Dalai Lama

Work continued in the garden over the school holidays tidying up and getting on top of outstanding jobs.  Plants are always growing and need to be kept in check. Work is continuing on the area at the back of the garden along the wall where a new bed is being created to link up to the other insect friendly beds.  Insects have been very visible over the past few weeks with a good range of bees, hover-flies, butterflies and dragonflies all on the wing.

Honey Bee feeding on Sedum

Another close-up of the Honey bee

White-tailed Bumblebee on a Geum flower

Red-tailed Bumbebee feed on Verbena

Possible Andrena bee feeding on a geranium

Hover-fly on the flowering Scabious

Another hover-fly enjoying a carpet of pollen!

The garden also recently welcomed visitors from our good neighbours at Gracewell.  A steady stream walked around the garden at the Gracewell Summer Fete in glorious sunshine.  Many found the time to sit and enjoy the surroundings and we received many good comments about the garden and how lucky the school was to have such a valuable asset for the children to study plants and mini-beasts!

Visitors from Gracewell Summer fete

Colour and leaf interest in the tropical bed

Magnificent sunflowers

The stunning crocosmia "Emily McKenzie"


Basking Southern Hawker on eryngium flower head
The school re-opens on the 5th September and we welcome new pupils and also wish those moving up into new classes good luck in their further step in education.  We hope that they will get a chance to visit the garden and enjoy all that goes with it