school garden

school garden

Thursday, 13 October 2016

"Work for a cause..

not for applause"


The Autumn equinox has passed and we slowly slide into winter now.  Fortunately the weather is still good and there is a lot of colour and interest in the garden.  Insects are still very common.  Over the past week we have recorded Large White, Small White, Painted Lady, Comma and Red Admiral butterflies and around the pond several Migrant Hawker and Common Sympetrum dragonflies. An interesting hoverfly was also recorded- possibly Xanthogramma pedissequum but this small group of hoverflies maybe split even further with discovery of another species within the group. Hummingbird Hawk moths have also been recorded recently

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Comma butterfly

Xanthogramma pedissequum
Wing detail of the hoverfly which helps identifiaction
The canna's and ornamental banana continue to grow and the height of the canna plants is well over six feet.  They are a stunning show as you walk up the path.  The grass garden also looks good when the plot is backlit by the sun

Grass Garden

Canna and Banana plant
In the greenhouse we have prepared for winter and the time when plants have to be put back in there for frost protection.  We have washed and cleaned the inside with Jeyes Fluid and will shortly start putting the tender plants back inside.  One of the succulent plants has recently flowered and the 'donkey tail' succulent
 is growing well once it was moved from snail access!

'Donkey-tail' succulent

Still lots of colour and interest

Aster which is providing late nectar for bees

Giant Russian sunflowers- the birds will love the seeds

Flying the flag!

Ox-eye daisy plants grown from seed and ready to plant out.

The garden group will continue to work most weekends over the winter period- weather permitting.  Anybody with an interesting in gardening or just enjoying pottering about is always welcome to join us. Please leave your name at the school office desk and we can get in touch with you.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

"The world is a book..

and those who do not travel read only a page"


Some fine warm nights have enabled us to run the moth trap.  Over the past week ten new species have been put on the ever growing list. Hawk moths have almost finished but migrant moths are always a possibility.  However we did catch one large moth, a Red Underwing.  On arrival at the trap it was resting on the outside and possible a few minutes later in arriving it would have gone.  We have recently been pestered with large numbers of wasps in and around the trap.  They cause no trouble in the early hours of the day and disperse quickly.

Dusky Thorn

The aptly named- Spectacle!

Vapourer- the female is wingless


Jersey Tiger

Red Underwing
The sunflowers continue to grow and one patch must have flowers well over 12 feet high.  Hopefully the weekend winds will not destroy them so they can be enjoyed next week by the pupils.

The magnificent sunflower bed dwarfing the runner beans

The flower sprouts are doing well and we are hoping for a good crop of this tasty vegetable

The Cannas are thriving and one plant is well over 6 feet tall

The decorative Banana plant grows a new leaf each week

Fennel- a magnet for bees and hoverflies

Papyrus plants enjoying the temporary move to the pond

James Grieve apple tree has plenty of fruit

Salvia involucrata 'Bethellii'

One Red Admiral butterfly took a liking to a T shirt and stayed there for a good five minutes before flying off

A visitor to the moth trap at first light is the Robin.  He is weighing up the chances of a possible easy meal and the trap has be moved about the garden each time to avoid the bird getting into bad habits!

The ever hungry Robin
The garden has been given five beautifully created leaves which the group have now positioned on the fence.  It is intended to label them for the children to become aware of leaf shapes and names of trees. 

The new school term starts next week and we welcome new pupils to the school and hope that they will soon find their way into the garden and enjoy the last of the summer colour and vegetables and sample some of the wildlife which is always present

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.