school garden

school garden

Monday, 16 January 2017

"Speak well of others..

not of their faults"


A gap in the weekend weather allowed a couple of hours in the garden to continue tidying up.  Work commenced on cutting up the field maple branches.  These have been separated into brash , small timber and bigger timber.  The lengths of timber will eventually be stacked in the woodland walk to make a bug hotel.  The brash, which is an important part of forestry in general, will be shredded and the chippings put back into the garden around the raised beds.  Nothing will be wasted.

All sorted. The brash to one side and the lengths of timber

Already with the removal of the field maples it was noted that the late afternoon winter sun was touching the willow classroom which means that in Spring and Summer the classroom will get all day sunshine which will  help the structure to recover.

Late afternoon sun hitting the willow classroom
Elsewhere general tidying was undertaken by garden volunteers.  There are a lot of leaves to take off of the beds and allow light to hit the many bulbs which are just poking above the ground.  As mentioned the daffodils are on the verge of bursting into flower.  The cold snap has put them back a little but the first should be in flower next weekend.

Daffodils waiting to burst open!

The periwinkle is flowering.  These lovely pastel blue flowers are a delight to the eye in the winter months.

Periwinkle flower (Vinca)

Nearby the Corsican Hellabore is about to flower.  There strange plants produce curious clusters of flowers.  This year once the flowering period is over the plant will be cut back to promote new growth from the centre.

As the day finished and the sun set in the west the grass garden came into its' own.  Backlit from the sun these grasses looked resplendent

The fading sunlight through the grass garden

There is always much to be done in the garden and as Winter slowly becomes Spring work in the garden  increases and the group always welcome new faces.  If you would like to volunteer and help manage this wonderful education asset to the school please get in touch with the office.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

"Nothing ever goes away..

until it has taught us what we need to know"

Pema Chodian

An American Tibetan Buddhist Nun

The garden has been ticking over during the Christmas and New Year festivities.  The soil has been too wet to work without causing damage so tidying up here and there, routine maintenance and repairing has been the order of the day.  There are still a lot of flowers out and have been over the New Year.

Geranium 'Rozanne' is still in flower much to the pleasure of the few bees still about

Bright Calendula's

Even Strawberries are flowering and forming!

The last of the raspberries- the blackbirds haven't found them yet!

The peanut butter plant is thriving in the shelter of banana plants and gingers

Colourful 'Salvia' still flowering in profusion

Attractive seed head of the ginger giving some winter interest

Plenty of interest in the grass garden

The grass garden

Iris reticulata appearing under the paper bark birch tree

In the Jurassic garden the chain ferns are slowing increasing in size.  By next summer they should look spectacular.  The name is derived from the delicate marking on the fronds

Chain Fern

One of the tit nest boxes had been destroyed by a Great-spotted Woodpecker who enlarged the hole looking for food inside.  They will often take young chicks from a box in the breeding season.  A new front has been made for the box and then re-positioned.

The damaged front to the nest box

All made good and ready for 2017!

Over the past two years the willow classroom has slowly been dying off on one corner of the structure.  This is because the Field Maples which were planted prior to the willow classroom have now grown so large and tall that they are starving the willow of light for photosynthesis of the leaves and also taking ground water away which willow thrives on.  These Field Maples have been cut down and then fresh Willow can be sourced, rooted and planted to replace to dead area.  The Field Maples trunks will be coppiced at ground level to encourage new growth but this will now be kept at a reasonable height to avoid further damage to the classroom.

The smaller sticks and branches will be fed into our shredder and used on the garden and the larger branches will be sawn into sensible lengths and positioned in the woodland walk to create a wildlife hotel which beetles will favour.  Nothing will be wasted or removed from the garden!

The first stage of managing the Field Maples

Nearby the Hazel has produced catkins

The first Hazel catkins of the year.

Finally in the shelter of the garden amongst the woodland walk the daffodils are about to burst into flower.  This is always a high point of the year in the school garden.  Hopefully the next blog update will feature daffodils in flower!