school garden

school garden

Monday, 22 August 2016

"Yesterday is ashes, tomorrow wood..

only today the fire burns brightly"

An Eskimo proverb

Work continues in the garden as the group tidies up,  moves  plants about and making good here and there with the secateurs. Some of the class beds are looking good with the sweetcorn, runner bean and sunflower beds looking particularly spectacular.  The sweetcorn, or maize, is some of the highest we have seen growing in the garden but alas over the weekend the strong South Westerlies caused a little damage but nothing too devastating.


The magnificent sunflower bed

Flower head

Two casualties!
The two fallen plants will not be wasted.  The flower heads cut off and dried and the seeds will be put on the bird table.  Greenfinch and House Sparrow will enjoy them once they have hardened off.

The sweetcorn patch

The runner beans took the winds in their stride and although leaning a little they have survived and are producing a lot of tasty green beans!

plenty of flowers on the runner bean plants

Fresh produce!
The beans need to be picked hard and regularly to encourage more beans.  This holds true to most vegetables in fact.

The hanging baskets are stunning.  Unfortunately they did not come into bloom for the NGS weekend but at present look fantastic.  This year we chose a  Begonia variety called 'apricot shades'.

The hanging baskets

Subtle pastel shades

Multicoloured blooms

Deep Apricot colours

A mix of colours and flower sizes
The moth trap has been run on a few warm nights but the wind has kept things a little quiet.  Hopefully the winds will ease this week and we can continue with our 'mothing'.  One attractive moth was caught though- a Canary Shouldered Thorn

The aptly named Canary Shouldered Thorn

Another moth trapped, although common, is often seen indoors on a warm summer night.  A plume moth called Emmelina monodactyla.

Emmelina monodactyla or Common Plume
Yellow Shell

The grass garden requires little maintenance but gives the onlooker both motion and texture. This shot was taken looking up through the Giant Bronze Oat grass to the blue sky above

The bluest of skies!


This year we have just one fruit on the kiwi plant.  Last year we had plenty.  This autumn the plant will be pruned heavily.  Possibly there is too much growth on it now to produce fruit.

Our only kiwi fruit!
 In the late afternoon a couple of young Robins appear.  One is particularly friendly and allows a very close approach.

Our friendly young Robin
Finally the Globe Artichokes are flowering and  there is always a lot of pollen in these flowers.  This bee was spotted gorging itself and is heavily coated in pollen.  It almost looked like an unknown species.  It defended the flower, not allowing other bees to land until it has had had enough!

Bee head first in the flower!

Absolutely covered in pollen.

We are hoping that the sunflowers and sweetcorn will survive till the start of the new term so that the children who planted them can see them and enjoy their planting efforts.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

"Forgive your enemies..

but never forget their names"

John F Kennedy

Despite the school holiday the garden group are working hard to maintain the plants and fixtures. It is also a good time of year to run the moth trap as many interesting and often unusual migrant species can be found.  Setting the trap means an early rise before the insects get too active in the trap and many often leave once the temperature picks up.  However a recent early morning visit was rewarded with a staggering Black Arches moth.  It had actually settled on the outside of the trap and could have flown off at any time.  Luck was on our side that morning.  It is surely one of the most beautiful British moths

Black Arches


The first moth out of the trap was a Garden Tiger

Garden Tiger

Garden Tiger


The hanging baskets are starting to fill out and tumble over the sides.  Alas a little late after the NGS weekend but they are still enjoyable.  The Begonia plugs were late getting going due to the cool Spring but they are not coming into their best.

Begonias

The magnificent Banana patch

Mass of flowers in the helpers bed.  All bee friendly!

Migrant Hawker dragonfly

Venus Fly-trap plants enjoying a few days outside of the greenhouse

Superb artwork from Mrs Palmer's class on the back wall

Pink Fir Apple potatoes- not a good crop this year!

Desiree potatoes- just from one plant. A much better crop

Verbena bonariensis- a magnet for insects
As the group were tidying up on the weekend an interesting 'vespoid' wasp was discovered.  Some quick photographs were taken to record the event but identification will require the use of the stereo microscope! 







Rain is forecast for the next thirty-six hours or so and this will help considerably with the growth of the vegetables especially the runner beans

The Runner Bean wigwams

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

"When you try to control everything...

..you enjoy nothing"

Anon

The garden has seen a lot of activity over the past two weekends.  On the first weekend in conjunction with the Friend's Summer Fayre the School Jurassic Garden was officially opened and handed over to the pupils who we hope will enjoy it and learn from it.  Dr Phil Sterling was asked to open the garden for us.  Phil was the perfect link between  Dorset County Council, the environment and the natural history which abounds in the garden. Phil's role within the County Council is Coast and Countryside Service Manager and he was well suited for the task. The head teacher Mrs Fiona Daykin  helped Phil with the ribbon cutting celebration.  Once the ribbon had been cut the children shot into the garden like coiled springs eager to see what was within!

Dr Phil Sterling and the Headteacher cutting the ribbon!

Aferwards Phil gave us a masterclass in micro-lepidoptera- his subject, showing us the underside of leaves and the many species of micro-moth eggs and small caterpillars which reside there.  He finished the afternoon with a glorious show of moths which he had trapped the night before from nearby.  These included hawkmoths and other brightly coloured specimens.

A Jurassic Garden scene
Elephant Hawk moths


A week later the garden was host again for the National Garden Scheme which raises money for charity.  The is was our fifth year of opening to the public and we were pleasantly surprised to receive a certificate from Mrs Di Reeds, the publicity and media officer of the Dorset  NGS for our efforts and money raised to date.



The garden volunteers accepting the NGS certificate from Di Reeds( second left)


Visitors enjoying the fine summer weather

Pausing  in the shade of the willow classroom

The grass garden backlit at the end of the afternoon








The moth trap was set the previous evening and visitors were delighted to see many colourful moths.  The best catch was this magnificent  Privet Hawk moth


Privet Hawk moth

Curious skull shape on the thorax

A stunning insect

Swallowtail moth

The Herald
With the pressure off the garden group has been tidying and making good ready for the summer

The runner beans are doing well

The celeriac plants have been trimmed to promote the root

French Beans almost ready for picking!


It is that time of year when we say goodbye to the senior pupils who move on to the next rung of the education ladder.  We wish them well and hope that they have enjoyed their time at Holy Trinity and enjoyed the learning from the garden during their stay.