school garden

school garden

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

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

"Wise men speak because they have something to say..

whereas fools speak because they have to say something"


Garden group members continued over the weekend to tidy up and make good ready for the forthcoming NGS open days.  Monies taken by gardens open to the NGS helps change lives with large amounts of money going to cancer charities, carers trusts and hospices.

The daisies are doing well since the clump was split earlier this year.  The flowers are larger and a Rose Chafer was found resting on one of them

The Rose Chafer

Clematis putting on a dazzling splash of colour

 The hanging baskets are also doing well. Again the begonia corms were lifted and split earlier this year and re-used for a second time.  The plants are bigger with larger flowers.

The Globe Artichokes are starting to flower.  They can be picked and eaten at an earlier stage but the group prefer to see the flowers which the bees often dive into head first

In the triangle bed the cannas, ornamental banana and  dahlia's are all thriving showing a wonderful mix and match of colour and shape

The bee beds continue to attract many insects including bees, wasps, hover flies and butterflies. Seven species of butterflies were recorded in the garden last Sunday afternoon

The few remaining exquisite birds crafted by the pupils have been relocated to keep them in a safer environment.  They look stunning hanging from the trees into the school garden

Frame for the Den building area

A well used mud kitchen- very popular with the children!

The table and chairs have been spruced up with teak oil

A freshly emerged Southern Hawker dragonfly was spotted resting near the pond

Finally our friendly Robin continues to follow us around the garden on the ever lookout for something to eat.  It is very tame and will stand close to the trowel or fork.  The bird is beginning to moult now as the breeding season is over and is looking a little scruffy!

The school garden is open this coming weekend.  Saturday July 22nd and Sunday July 23rd from 13.00 to 17.00. Teas and refreshments are to be served next door by our good friends at Gracewell.  The garden group look forward to seeing you and showing you around the garden.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

"Respect for ourselves guides our morals....

while respect for others guides our manners"

Laurence Sterne (1713-68)
Irish novelist and clergyman

The garden group have been working hard over the past week to get the garden ready for the NGS weekend which is creeping up on us fast!  The grass has been cut and edges trimmed but of course some wild areas of grass have been left for invertebrates.

The Aeolian wind pipes have had a make over

Around the Jurassic garden the plants are doing well.  The tree ferns are needing regular watering in this hot weather and the chain ferns below  benefit from this

Tree ferns and giant Chain ferns

Our Tetrapanax is growing well

The banana plants enjoying the warmer weather

This Salvia is flowering earlier

The Ginko tree now two years old is also growing well
In the World War 2 garden the potato patch and the broad beans are thriving although there is a little blackfly appearing on the broad beans.

The WW2 vegetable garden

The honeysuckle on the fence is a mass of colour and scent

Mrs Legg's flower bed has had a makeover and the plants trimmed and cut back and a couple of new small fuchsias have been planted

Mrs Legg's flower bed
The pond has been overtaken by duckweed and it is very hard to get on top of it.  A little looks fine but we do not want it carpeting the pond!

The pond and established flower bank
The purple loosestrife is looking good at the moment and the water figwort.  A water avens is also in flower and looks a little like a large buttercup.  This plant needs watching though or else it might take over!

Both Emperor and Migrant Hawker dragonflies have been seen lately, a Comma butterfly on the verbena and a humming bird hawk moth on the geums.

Hummingbird Hawk-moth

Migrant Hawker


The garden is open to the public July 22nd and July 23rd.  It will be well sign posted. In 2016 proceeds from NGS gardens which opened right across the country raised some £2.7 million pounds for various charities. Opening times from 13.00 to 17.00 on both days.  Refreshments available.  We look forward to seeing you all there!