school garden

school garden

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!

Friday, 9 June 2017

"Change is inevitable..

progression is choice"

The blossom this Spring was again spectacular as the cherry trees at the back of the garden and the other smaller fruit trees lit up the garden with fantastic flowers.

The emergence of the blossom brought with it the bees who feasted on the pollen.  Many early species were noted including Andrena clarkella, Andrena fulva and Andrena cineraria.  The garden group have recently purchased three more apple tress to plant in the orchard area.  This should be done within the next week or so.

Other spring flowers which brought colour and interest to the garden were;

In the pond the Marsh Marigolds continue to expand on the bankside. Unfortunately the flowers do not last long

Marsh Marigold

The ornamental banana plant which has spent the winter indoors in the shelter of the HQ shed has been put back out.  Within two weeks it had grown two new leaves.  It continues to be a focal point in the garden

In the nest box the Blue Tits again moved in and initially laid ten eggs but only six hatched.  The female is a bird which had been ringed in the garden the previous winter.

The eggs are often covered when the bird is away from the nest

The Great Tits nested in one of the bat boxes in the Jurassic Garden.  Last weekend the young birds could be heard calling for food from around the garden.

The cycad plant has been moved to a sunnier and warmer position.  It was showing signs of stress so has been moved a short distance away.

The replanted cycad  

The tree ferns have had their old fronds removed and are being watered regularly to promote new growth.  These magnificent ferns are unusual in that the trunk of the 'tree' is actually the roots.  They are slow growing- about an inch a year.

Below them the chain ferns are now growing well after two years and are looking healthy.  They also like their roots damp.

The group have been busy the past couple of weeks constructing a mud kitchen for the pupils to use. The frame of this project has been recycled pallets.  The sink has been recycled from a nearby scrap metal merchant and the pots and pans given by kind donation.  The work is almost done with the sink being fitted last weekend.

Stage one of the construction
The sink in position

The mud kitchen work site
Finally the best has been saved till last.  After nurturing the bird of paradise plant for a couple of years the garden group were rewarded a week or so ago by the most magnificent flower.  Over the past week it has continued to open.  One young lad at the school likened to a crazy hair cut!

The force ten gale which blasted the school garden this week did a little damage but it is hoped to tidy this up and make good this next weekend.

The garden group always welcome new helpers with an interest in gardening.  Why not join us?