Green Fingers Volunteers

ST. NICHOLAS SCHOOL GARDEN CLUB

ST. NICHOLAS SCHOOL GARDEN CLUB
2014/15 GARDEN PROJECT CALENDER/DIARY.


Summer Term Two

 

Tuesday 2nd June

Dragonfly Class

 

The beginning of the last term of our school year, time is really flying by so quickly this year.
The weather for the first day back at school is looking good, so Mr John was able to go out onto the school field to do P.E with the children today, this is where I found him, and chose my first group of volunteers for “green fingers “garden club.

Today there was quite a lot of” potting on plants” for this first group, so the children gathered the potting trays, and their garden gloves from the shed, I brought over a large new bag of compost and placed it in the learning lodge for the group to use.
Filling flower pots and seed trays, with the compost the children, using their wooden dibbers teased out cabbage plants, and popped them into the flower pots, then firmed the plants in.
The next plants to have the same treatment was our cauliflower plants, this is a new crop for us to grow so we will see how much success we have, and hopefully the cabbage white butterflies will not get to them first.
Once this task had been completed the children gave the plants a good soak.
There was one more job for them to do this was to plant some “nicoshiana” flower plants into their classes little felt baskets, the children loved doing this as the plants were already out in flower, these were very carefully watered.
Two children helped me look for some of our spare plastic lemonade bottles left over from when we made the school garden ecohouse, after dusting them off the children then attached four different watering spouts to the top of each bottle, (I had bought these in the autumn,) at a place called the garden room in a disused church in the centre of London, I thought that these looked like fun! As well as being practical.

Now this group was ready to go back to their class and carrying their planted containers very carefully, along with one of the new watering bottles, the children took them to show the rest of the class, where the children can watch the flowers grow and water them.

The next group was now ready to come out into the learning garden, their first task was quite a large one, as our resident scare crow “Sid”, was much in need of some new clothes.
We went into the shed to find a new shirt, and coat for him, the children pulled and tugged, to remove the old clothes, and then we pulled and tugged to put on his new ones, he looked very smart! The children said that they loved him; we took lots of photos, and gave him a pair of sun glasses for the summer.
The staff and children now need to pay him a visit in our veg plots, where he is doing a fantastic job of keeping the pigeons off!

Tomato plants were the next thing on our list, these plants also needed potting on, and putting into the ecohouse, I think the group did around fifteen of these so we should have a good harvest from these in the late summer.
Now their was time to plant out some more runner beans, sweet peas and a few flower plants into the raised beds, of course these all needed watering.
With all the jobs done for the green fingered gardeners today, there was time too put all the tools away into the shed, brush the lodge floor, and stop, look and listen for just a minute, while it was quite.
A robin landed in the wooden seat next to the children, a sparrow landed in the pond iris and took a drink, our blue tit flew into its nesting box, and we stopped to count the bees. It was just beautiful.
Seven dojos were awarded today, for great work, and skill in planting.

 

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Friday 5th June Watering with Butterfly class

 

Another dry afternoon for gardening, Mrs Bendell chose five children to come out into the learning garden to water some of the plants.
Mr Howell was also out in our school pond, removing some more of the blanket weed, and cleaning the pump out so that the water will flow much better.
The children went over to have a look , we saw one of our tiny fish swimming around, and the children looked through the pile of removed weed to pick out any tiny pond life , and return them to the pond the children love doing this.

Back now to watering the veg plots, runner beans, courgettes, peas these all needed a good drink.
Two of the group went into the ecohouse to water our, tomatoes, cucumbers and trays of seedlings.
Just a few minutes left to plant out eight tomato plants into one of the garden plots, and give them a cane for support, well done green fingered gardeners.

 

 

 

Tuesday 9th June

Ladybird Class

 

A dry windy day or green fingers garden club, Miss Smith chose seven children to come out for the first group of the afternoon.
The children, put on their gloves, and gathered kneeling mats and trowels from the shed, as we were going out to the front of the school today, we also took out shears, and watering bottles, and the wheel barrow to put in the weeds.

The children were excited by going out onto the front gardens, as they could wave to the villagers passing by.
Getting on with the job in hand though, the group pulled up all of the dead spring plants, and weeds, this filled our wheel barrow.
Using their trowels holes were dug, along the flower border, and under the office window, also in the wooden planters, then using the watering bottles, the children filled each hole with water as the ground was so dry.
We then had ten busy lizy plants to put in , these we hope will give a bit of summer colour, when this was completed the children collected up all of the tools and mats, then gave the pathway a good brush.

This group wanted to have a quick look in the pond, and ecohouse before returning to their class.

A group of five children came out into the learning garden to see what their task was for the afternoon, after putting their wellies and gloves on I had a special treat for this group!
Horse manure, this was our first job, to spread it all around the courgettes, pumpkin, squashes, beans and peas.
Grace, River and Kiera, could not stop giggling, and every time that they tried picking it up with their trowels, the manure fell off!
Meanwhile Ben M, and Dylan got stuck in, (not literally), but the boys did not bother with trowels, they just used their hands, (with gloves on of course).
This task was soon completed, and I think Grace and River have now stopped giggling.
Collecting all of our watering equipment, the children watered the veg plots, raised bed area, and the ecohouse, the plants are very slow at growing as its has been dry, windy and a little cold for summer at times.
Mrs Halliday, kindly gave us some more runner bean plants, so the children popped these in amongst, the ones which we had grown, so we should have a bigger crop later on.
Finally we managed to hoe between our onions and remove some of the weed, and a few onions!
With just fifteen minutes left, the children each raked a small patch in between the tomato plants, gave this a water, and broadcasts, some mixed flower seed , that Mo Haine had given to us earlier in the year, we put in some labels, and now we will wait and see what comes up.

The group just had a minute, to count bees and butterflies for me to put on our chart, not many around though as it was a bit too cold today. This was then followed by a quick look at the pond for these children also. We saw just two newts, and then time to tidy up and back to class.
I was in ladybird class for a few minutes, working out the dojo points for my groups today, where all the children in the class then said, good afternoon Mrs Howell, what a brilliant end to a lovely afternoon with ladybird class.

 

 

Friday 12th June Watering with Ladybird Class

Watering, this is a much needed job in our learning garden at least twice a week, at the moment.
I had a small group of children, ready to go watering; we gathered up all of the cans, filled them to the top and took the first cans out to the front of the school to water the bizzy Lizzies.
Then moving on to all the plants in the ecohouse, and the raised beds of flowers and veg, these are doing well now.
Finally the children watered most of the veg plots, the peas are looking great, and the runner beans are coming on, but the beetroot and carrots are a bit sparse, we gave these an extra drink.
Just time to collect up the bird feeders, and fill them with nuts, fat balls and seed.
The children counted 18 bees in the garden today along with 4 butterflies; we put these on our charts.

 

 

 

Tuesday 16th June

Hedgehog Class

 

Today was extremely hot for gardening, and also practise sports day, but the children were still just as keen to do both.
Mrs Marshall chose five children who had just done some practise sport, and these came into the learning garden as it was just slightly cooler.

The first job today after putting 0n their gloves , was to plant out the last of the waitrose peas, these had now grown quite big, and we noticed that the fibrous roots we coming through the bottom of the pot.
The team knelt on their mats, and using trowels dug deep holes in amongst the tomato plants, and then filled them with water, the pea plants were then teased out from the pots and placed into each hole,  soil was carefully put around the plants to keep the moisture in.
We had run out of garden canes, so Dominic and I cut off some large bamboo, from the bog garden, we hope that our peas will climb these.

Moving onto the next job, this was to plant out our cabbage and cauliflower plants, we are very proud of these, it is the first time we have grown them from seed.
Courtney, Jaden, and David dug over the raised area, which ladybird class had so kindly manured last week.
Ten plants were then put in this area and given a good drink, time now to get a few more children from the field, as it does seem slightly cooler, but firstly the children had a drink of water, then they were ready to tackle the garden.

This group had the rest of the cabbage and cauli to plant out around twenty five to put in and water, this was quite tricky as the group tried not to tread on the radish and carrots at the same time.
There was the job of planting up the line of wellies next, so these were filled with compost, and then beans, lettuce and blue lobelia were put in the top of each wellie, we hope this will add a bit of colour to our garden shed.

The children then watered all of the plots, the ecohouse, raised beds and hanging baskets, and the last of the plants in the lodge we hope to get these plants in next week.
Ellie and Sophie worked really well and gained two dojos each.

Just time to check on the pond and discover the flowering “dog roses” out in the garden maze.
Thank you to those children who volunteered to come out into
the garden to work on such a “hot” day.

 

Friday 19th June looking after the school front garden
With hedgehog class

 

Three volunteers gave up their golden time to come out into the garden to water the plants with me.
We took the watering cans up to the front of the school. As the wooden planters were looking very dry and the shrubs were even beginning to wilt.
The group gave all the flower borders a good drink; this should keep them alive, until we have some rain.

After watering the veg plots, raised beds and the ecohouse, there was just time to have a look in the pond, and clear out the pump.
Well done volunteers from hedgehog class, the children were awarded a dojo each.

 

 

 

Tuesday 23rd June

Butterfly Class

 

Today I found all of the children down on the playing field, practising for their sports day, on Friday we hope!
Mrs Bendell chose four children to help me in the garden, as we had the very last of our waitrose plants to put in. this group with their gloves on were keen to get started.
The team gathered up the plants from the lodge, and gave them a good drink. This will help them when they are transferred into the garden.
I used the hoe to remove some weeds (these always seem to grow no matter what the weather), then the children using their mats knelt in a row so they could dig some holes in which to plant the seedlings of beet, this was done well and the group gave them water, and put in the labels.

Two of the group returned to the field to practise, and the other children wanted to stay on, with two new ones who had just finished cross country, Megan and Jacob.

After a quick break, the group of five were ready to get planting, so we then collected the pea plants from butterfly decking that Mrs Haliday had sent in.
The team filled two large flower pots with compost the planted the peas in each pot then gave them a good drink; we then tied some garden canes together to make a support for our peas.
The children took one pot and put it on the decking and the
other one was placed in the veg plot.

We now took time to have a look to see what was left to do.
A lady in the village had given the school some French marigold plants, so the girls planted these into two hanging baskets, as they are our garden slugs “favourite”, and we thought if we hung them in the air they might just survive!
The boys were busy filling a trough with sand and compost, in which to plant out our few tiny “sun flowers”, by putting the sand in we hope this will stop the slugs from having then for tea!

Time is flying by today; we only have a short while left. So the children wanted to make the most of it. We went over to the pallet pyramid, to now take the plastic domes off of our, squashes, pumpkins and marrow, the children thought that they were big enough not to be eaten by the snails, in fact, Oliver W and Oakley collected all of the snails that they could find and put them into the “brick bug house” over by the shed and away from our plants.
I think this was one of their favourite jobs out in the garden today.
Hope, Megan and Jacob watered the plants in the ecohouse, we then had five minutes left, so the children asked if they could go into the pond area, and use the fishing nets, take a look at the wildlife camera, and so off we set.

The team fished out lots of “blanket weed” and also some pond life, Jacob could tell us a lot of the names, we saw dragonfly larva, newts, water beetles, pond skaters, a tiny frog and two types of water snail, all of which we returned to our pond.

Just as we were leaving there were two damsel flies hovering over the pond, I think that I managed to get them on film.

Time now to pack away all of the tools and gloves, water the few remaining plants in the lodge, especially Caitlin’s from dragonfly class she had grown with her Aunty Sue, and she has kindly donated them to the learning garden , we will plant these next week.
I gave Mrs Bendell a list of the dojo winners, a lovely afternoon spent out in our garden.    

 

 

 

Thursday 25th June Bird feeding with Butterfly class

A small group of children came out into the learning garden to top up all of the bird feeders, we just put out mixed wild bird seed today so that some of our new young  birds could feed, as it has been so dry.

The children then gathered up the watering cans, once they were all full, the team then watered all of the veg plots, hanging baskets, and the flower pots in the play ground, finishing with the ecohouse.
Just time to scoop out a bit of blanket weed from the pond, to keep it looking good.

 

 

 

Tuesday 30th June

 

Dragonfly Class

 

 

Garden club today was a bit of a challenge, as the weather was around 28 degrees.
I found the class on the field just about to do PE with Mr John, when he asked for any gardeners, a lot of children put up their hands, as they thought that it might be a little cooler in the learning garden!

Just gloves needed out in the garden today, trowels and kneeling mats, as we needed to plant out Caitlin’s special plants that she had grown at home.
The children dug some holes in which to plant the dragon pumpkins and the spiky plants, the group filled each hole with water then a plant was put in, then soil put around its root system, we hope these will make it in this very not weather.
Just time now to plant out the tiny purple sprouting plants in amongst our cabbage, which do not seem to have grown much?
The children helped me cover all of these with the green cloche, to protect them from slugs, and pigeons.

I took this group back to their class so they could get changed, whilst the rest of the class were playing “sleeping lions “to cool them down.
Ten minutes had passed so the next group of green fingered garden were all ready and willing to come out into the garden.
With their kneeling mats tucked under their arms and gloves on their task for the afternoon, was to weed the pond area, as the surface of the gravel was becoming hidden with lots of tiny weeds.

This group soon filled up the wheel barrow, pulling out clumps of couch grass, and lots of weeds, this was then taken over to the very full compost heap the children love this area.
The girls pulled up lots of weeds from the path, whilst the boys, cleared grass from outside the ecohouse, fantastic work as it was still very hot, we then all sat under the parasol, to cool down, whilst Mrs Palmer came out into the learning lodge with some children to do their maths.

As I looked at my watch it was 3pm, so just time for the children to do a “woodland trust”, looking for wildlife in the garden sheet.
The six children worked in pairs, they had great fun looking for, different flowers, bees, butterflies, and birds, when I looked at the completed sheets, Alfie and Jaden had managed to spots four wood peckers!
The girls found quite a lot of the flowers even some which were not on the sheet, still it was a lovely end to a very hot and sticky afternoon in our school garden, the group just had time to pick some peas for all the children to try in class tomorrow.

Ms Palmer was given a list of the dojo winners, and also the peas, it was now home time.
Billie; Jo, saffron, Caitlin, Charlie, and Alfie all worked really well.

 

 

 

Friday 3rd July Bird feeding with dragonfly class

This afternoon a group of eight children came out into the garden to feed our garden birds.
Mr Howell took the first group to collect all of the feeders, whilst I took my group over to the shed to find our new feeders.
The children worked at the tables in the lodge filling up all of the eight feeders with seed, peanuts and sun flower seed, this was soon completed, and we took the children around the garden to find the best sites in which to place the feeders.
We were all amazed as a robin, female black bird and two finches were waiting to have a feast on this yummy bird food.
The children had a few minutes “pond dipping”, but the nets are now not so good and might just last to the end of term!
Mrs Billington has said that we can purchase some new ones for September.

 

 

 

Tuesday 7th July

Hedgehog Class

 

 

On this the last ever “green fingers” garden club for our year sixes, I had a few children who were as keen ever wanting to come out into the learning garden
Today these children are planting up some containers, for a bit of extra summer colour, I bought some more flowering plants with a bit of the money we raised from our garden produce sold at the school fayre.
Thank you to “the English florist” who gave us some plants, when I explained that I was buying some for our school garden.

The team mixed up the last of our compost with some grit for drainage, and also soaked the disc compost to get it to expand; now they were ready to get planting.
Rose put a yellow bidens, and blue harebell into a pair of old wellies, whilst Sophie, planted pink petunia into two blue stone pots.
David planted a beautiful hanging begonia into a pot, and Alex H planted up two small kiwi bushes into large pots, this is a new type of fruit bush for our garden.
Finishing off with a couple of hanging basket plants which needed to be put in, these were all then watered well, and the children chose new places to put these containers.
On Thursday 9th July we are being judged by the “Wildlife Trust” for a schools garden competition, we will know the result at the end of July. The children have all worked hard to make the garden look its best, with a strong emphasis on nectar plants, to help the bee and butterfly population, this will also help with pollination of our fruit trees, and the vegetable plants, things like tomatoes and cucumbers. We very much hope that the judges will like our learning garden, as well as the butterfly garden and lavender patch!

We took some photo’s and then there was just time to do some watering, now over to the pond where the children saw all manner of creatures, some were fished out and David put them back in.

Time for the next group to come out into the garden, this was just Alex .F and Karl, as all the other children were busy.
We pushed the wheel barrow up to the veg plots, where we needed to weed the onions, this was very tricky as growing amongst our onions were beautiful red poppies, and borage, both of which the bees love. We had time just to remove the worst of the weed from our veg plots, being so careful not to remove any insect beneficial plants wild or other wise.

After this slightly should we say boring job, Alex and Karl finished the watering, whilst Savannah (who was on her work experience) came out to join us, and became our photographer.

Time was now running out, so we sat in the lodge, and cut out some photos of garden birdsss to make a mobile.

Thank you to today’s gardeners, and especially all of year sixes who have worked hard in the learning garden, and around the school site, over the past seven years they have dug, lifted, weeded, planted, sown, pruned, trimmed, painted, created, grown, tasted, picked and sold in our school garden and I very much hope that they have gained some knowledge, to help and pass on along life’s journey.

Dojos were awarded today for had work as a great team, well done hedgehog class.

 

 

Thursday 9th July

A visit from Dorset Wildlife Trust

 

Today we were so very pleased that the sun was shinning on what was going to be a busy morning.
The school learning garden has been entered into a competition, for all aspects of wildlife in a garden environment, as well as it being a working, produce producing, and learning area.

I had a team of six children, from year five and six, Ellie, Ellis, Dominic, David, Jake, and Alex H, to help show the judges around all of the school garden areas.
The team had a quick briefing, on what sort of questions might be asked, and then it was time to get busy out in the learning garden, as the visitors were due at our school around 10.30am.

Dominic and Ellis filled the watering cans, whilst Jake and Ellie started to collect the garden produce, peas and broad beans, for their class to try.
David was busy looking for wildlife in the pond and Alex was helping me set up the moth trap, now our judges have arrived.

We had two judges Brian from Castle Gardens, Sherborne and Briony from the Dorset Wildlife Trust; it was now quite exciting, if a little scary.

Our visitors were shown, the “butterfly garden “, over by Explorers, and also the “lavender patch”; these areas both look great at the moment, the children also pointed out our “slow worm and snake” area.

Moving back into the learning garden (which was now full of children as it was morning break time) this did not seem to bother the judges at all, the garden team and some of the younger children were asked some questions.

I was also asked questions about the garden; how long had we been managing it, how often do the children come out, what tasks they carry out, how much do they know about wildlife, and pollinators.
I explained that I am out in the garden every week, in -5 degrees or 28.5 degrees, just last week. Tuesday and Friday are the two days in the garden, and each class comes out at least twice a term.

The children were finding lots of mini beasts, to show me and also the judges, whilst the garden team were offering produce to taste, and guided tours of the school pond.

It was now time for our visitors to leave us, their twenty minutes had turned into forty, Brian told us that it was just delightful, so much work and effort had been put into the garden and other areas, Briony loved all aspects of the wildlife areas, with our charts, bug hotels, places for hedgehogs, and nesting boxes, as well as the ecohouse, and the raised flower beds.
Their final words were it was lovely to see children and wildlife working together in harmony in the school garden.

We all felt that the visit went well, and the children were just fantastic! We have to wait until July 30th for the results; the presentations will be at Castle Gardens where some of the staff are hoping to attend.

 

 

 

Tuesday 14th July

 

Ladybird Class

 

 

The weather forecast for our last Green Fingers garden club, was for heavy showers, so we were not to hopeful about being in our learning garden today.
Thankfully the rain did not arrive, so Miss Smith was able to choose the first group of gardeners to come out into the garden with me.
Today was really just, a tidy up for the summer, and watering, so once the team had put on their gloves, and collected a spade each; there was one last garden job to do.
We moved some of the planted containers from, next to cobby, and then found them new homes around the garden. Then using their spades the children removed some of the bark mulch, to expose the black membrane, which I then cut away.
The children then dug over the very dry soil, to form a small flower bed, Liam then said that we needed an edge around it to stop the soil from falling out, so Tarin, Catherine, and Dylan helped me fetch some logs, these made a great edge, our job was complete.
On Thursday, hedgehog class, all year sixes will be out in the garden to plant a buddleia, kindly given to us by the Haine family, and also a red rose bush, donated by the Howell family, these plants will be good for our wildlife as well as giving colour, Ellie will plant out the shrub, and Carenza and Rose will plant the rose, weather permitting.

Now back to ladybird class, this group now had time to put their gloves away and fetch the watering cans, the tomatoes all needed a drink, and the plants on the pallet looked dry.
Ten minutes left, the children wanted to use the nets in the pond (in the summer holidays I will purchase some more nets as these ones are a bit the worse for wear).
We managed to see one of our three fish, and catch lots of pond skaters,

Miss Smith chose the next group to come out into the garden, these children, pulled up a few weeds, and then put all the tools away; they also wanted to go into the pond area to fish.
Daisy spotted a dragonfly larva case on the cane in the middle of the pond so we took some photos, the children found lots of newts, and water snails also; this group spent along time fishing, River and Connor loves this activity.

Isabel then said can we look to see if there are any flowers to pick, so we put our nets away and went into the veg plots to se what we could harvest.
The children picked peas, sweet peas, and then blackcurrants and raspberries from the fruit area, I explained to the children that they could take them back to their class to share out, the group loved picking the produce, there are lots more to come, I will harvest some over the holiday, and try to sell it.

Both groups were awarded dojos today it was a nice afternoon with lots of fun!

 

I can not believe that another school year has come to an end; the time out in the learning garden has just flown by.
All of my keen green fingered gardeners have worked hard, and learnt lots of new skills, we ‘ve had fun, its been very hot and cold and quite wet at times but this never seems to put the children off volunteering, which is just great.
I will miss the year sixes as they have been gardening with me for the past seven years, which is a long time, and I very much hope that they have learnt a great deal.

 

I look forward to September and our harvest time, we will hopefully get the chance to sell some of our produce in Waitrose again this year.

As we loose our year six, there will be some new reception children to come and help out in the school garden, we look forward to that.

We have all had a great school year out and about in the school garden; I hope everyone has a fantastic summer break.



Spring Term

Tuesday January 6th

Butterfly Class

As we enter into the beginning of the spring term, the weather today feels spring like, with the sun shining brightly.
Butterfly class, begin garden club this term, and it is the butterfly garden which needs attention this week.
Wellies coats and gloves on the first group chosen by Mrs Bendell were very keen to come out into the learning garden, tools and wheel barrows collected, the children were ready to get started.
After having had quite a lot of rain, the cooch grass had once again covered a large part of the butterfly area.
This group had to use the spades, forks and trowels to remove the grass; this was tricky, because the children had to be carefully not to remove the plants, which had died down over winter.
After a lot of hard difficult work, the team had filled the wheel barrow to the top, with weeds and grass.
Time now to go over to the school bark pile to collect as much as they could in ten minutes, to use as mulch on the section of the butterfly garden they had cleared.
This group worked very well, dojos were awarded to Henry, Ben Mu, Ruby and Mia.

Time now for the last group of the day, to come out over to the butterfly garden, so as soon as this group were dressed suitably for work in the garden, they were ready to get started.
Their task was to do the same as the last group, but on the other half of the garden, this was again tricky, as there were smaller clumps of grass to be removed, but it had grown in between the plants.
Using their trowels mainly for this job, the children worked very carefully, as they worked through this section, we noticed that the spring bulbs were pushing up through the soil, proving that, spring seems to be on its way, although we have not yet had winter!
The group then went over to collect some more bark mulch, the children just love doing this and have great fun!
We all then stood back to look at what we had achieved today, and after brushing the path, we all decided the butterfly garden looked  fantastic.
Time now to put the weeds in to the compost bin, and the tools away, then back to class, just before the bell is rung.
Two more dojos were awarded.

 

Tuesday 13th January

Dragonfly Class

The first job today was to put a new display into the notice board in the playground, as the pictures had been there, since the autumn.
Mrs Crosby printed out some nice photographs, of the children, doing various tasks in the garden; these were our winter gardening subjects.
It was now time to find Mr John, and the children from Dragonfly Class; they were busy playing “Simon says”, but there were still plenty of volunteers to come gardening.
Today the children set up the potting trays, and filled buckets with compost, put on gloves and aprons, ready to plant up the last of the tulip bulbs.
We had two nice pottery blue pots which had been given to the garden club, also some large flower pots, and the boys wanted to plant some into the Morrison’s cardboard wheel barrow, with the shelter from the lodge we will see if this makes it through the winter!
All six children had the chance to plant up two containers, and then we put a label in to the pots  so that when spring arrives we can see what type of bulb is coming up.
It took a bit of time to take off, gloves, and aprons, then it was time to catch up with PE, and take out another six children, into the garden.
These children had the job of planting the last of the tulip bulbs into the garden, firstly we took out trowels and went out into the front garden of the school, and the children thought that it might be nice to plant some bulbs under the office window to cheer it up in spring.
This group worked, even better than the last group, and were really well behaved; we then went back over to the learning garden to plant bulbs in the herb wheel, and just a few in the border. This group also potted on our summer Lilly bulbs, so that they will begin to swell, ready to plant out in the early summer.
Just time to fill up the bird feeders, and tidy away all of the tools and potting trays.
The children wanted to have a look in the pond, so we fished out a bit of algae and removed the dead pond grass.
Some dojos were given to this group, for great concentration, and learning, with a few spots of rain now falling time to go back to class.

Friday 16th the forecast was for very cold weather, this weekend, so the children needed to top up the bird feeders.
We just had enough food to fill up the peanut feeders and also the wild bird feeders, the children then cleaned out the water bowl and put in fresh for the garden birds to drink from.
Now it was time to go home. Mr Howell has just arrived with the wildlife camera to set up; it is working ok, but has not managed to capture any wildlife recently.

Tuesday 20th January

Hedgehog Class

Mrs Marshall chose the first group of gardeners to come out, before the others put on their PE kit.
Grey skies were overhead, we thought that we were only going to be able to work in the learning lodge toady, varnishing our wooden plaques, which we had made in the summer, but the children really wanted to get out into the garden.
With the rain easing off we loaded up the wheel barrow with pruners, loppers, scissors and string, the group then asked what they were going to do, I explained that the “ willow tunnel” at the bottom of the playing field needed sorting.
Once the group had their wellies and gloves on they were ready to get started, some of the team remembered pruning the willow canes two years ago with me, but the twigs had now grown, into small trees.
The team using the pruners, carefully removed the long pointed side shoots, this would avoid anyone catching themselves on the lower branches.
Using the tree pruners and large loppers the team then tackled the larger branches further up the trunk; these were then put into a pile to use later.
This group then finished by removing any short sharp branches from inside the tunnel, this group worked well, and two of the six children were awarded dojos.
The first group had now gone back to join in Mr John’s PE class, and I then had the next group of green fingered volunteers.
The willow tunnels had to now be tied back together to help form the tepee shape, we worked in pairs, one holding the willow together and the other fixing the branches with string, this was difficult and arm aching work, but we slowly managed to re-form the six tunnels and take some photos.
It is beginning to drizzle again, but the children wanted to finish the job in hand, so once all the willow had been tied, we then looked at each section to find the gaps, which had been caused by dieback and little children climbing through!
We gathered the cuttings, from the pile and used these to push as far down into the soil as possible, as it is now wet, we hope that these will regenerate, to create a new thick tunnel, so that in the spring, the children will have, a great place to hide and play!
Every one worked hard today in damp weather, but they did not give in and all wanted to finish this garden task, well done especially to Ellie, Alex S, Alex H , David, Jake, Dominic, and Ellis, who, gained another dojo  for excellent work.

Friday RSPB Big School BIRD WATCH with Hedgehog class

Mrs Marshall chose a group of children who had worked well to come out to do the bird watch.
We put on our wellies and collected pencils and information sheets sent to us by the RSPB, there were three spotter, record pages to go through.
The team began looking for garden birds in the paying field; hear we caught sight of starlings, house sparrows, crows, pigeons and doves.
Moving over to the butterfly garden we saw a blackbird and a jackdaw, and then out to the front of the school, where we found more crows on the roof.
Finally the team went into the learning garden, were we all took time to sit for five minutes very quietly, with out talking,”this was nearly impossible though”, but it paid off, as we were rewarded with, a tiny little wren sitting on the fence, two robins chasing each other in amongst the climbing rose, a chaffinch, two bluetits, and finally we had a pair of long tailed tits feeding on one of the fat ball feeders.
The children love doing this task, and the information they have gathered will be put onto the RSPB website.

Tuesday 27th January

Ladybird Class

Green fingers garden club this week has good weather once again. Not a snow flake insight!
I had lots of volunteers this week wanting to come out, Mrs Steel chose the children who had finished their work and who had not been out into the garden for a while.
Once the children were kitted out ready for gardening, they wanted to get started, so we took the wheel barrows full of pruners and rakes over  to the maze, where we all set about cutting off, dead plant material such as; stinging nettles, geums, cherry tree suckers , this was then raked up and taken over to the compost heap.
The children noticed patches of dead grass so using their rakes this was taken off, Daisy and Jess said that the maze was looking better and that there would now be room for the daffodils to come through.
Three wheel barrows were now full and the boys emptied them on to the big compost heap.
Now we could see the maze area much better. It was time now to plant out the last of the small tree seedlings given to the school by the woodland trust. So using their trowels the team carefully planted these, wild roses, cherry, hawthorn and the most difficult to plant was the spiky holly.
A fantastic team effort, then there was just time for this group to choose two sites to put up our shinny new “bee and of course a ladybird”, metal wall art.
We all stopped for a moment to watch a blackbird and robin feeding, they were quite tame.
Group number two were equally keen to go gardening, they had also to plant out some seedlings, and the children dug deep holes in which to plant these, and then firmed the plants in with their wellies.
The children then raked the path so it made it easier to walk; now the maze area was finished so we gathered up all of the tools.
Fetching the spades and forks from the shed, the children then went over to our bark heap; there was just time to spread a good layer of bark mulch next to the gate, to get rid of the mud.
Working well together the group did this managing to keep it off of the newly laid gravel area; I took some nice pictures of the children working hard.
It does not matter which year I take out to the bark mulch heap, the children all seam to love this job, its fun!
Thank you ladybird class for all being so well behaved, five children were awarded dojos today, for their gardening skills.

RSPB Garden birds watch with Ladybird Class

A cold windy day for bird spotting but I had eight children who wanted to come out into the garden.
Firstly the children sat at the tables in the lodge were they studied the RSPB bird watching sheet, straight away the group could hear a robin singing, then it hopped along the fence, I was able to take a photograph of it.
By sitting quietly in the lodge the children then were able to watch for more birds, on the feeding station, appeared, a bluetit, starling, and two house sparrows.
The group soon had 7 out of 10 types of garden bird, ticked off on their sheets, it was now getting cold and we had completed our 30 minutes needed for the RSPB, and it was time to go home, as I chatted to the children on the way back to the class the group told me that it was nice to sit quietly, and just watch for the wildlife in our school.

Tuesday 3rd February

Butterfly Class

It is just amazing that every Tuesday seems to be dry, if a little on the cold side at times.
Mrs Bendell has a list in her class so that she knows which children have been gardening recently, so today there were eight children who had not been out this term, and it was going to be their turn this afternoon.
As the weather was dry and cold the children needed a task where they could keep busy and warm.
The pile of bark mulch was going down, but there were still quite a few wheel barrow loads to move!
Coats, gloves and wellies on, the first group were ready to get started. The children noticed that the bark had now changed colour, and was much heavier than the last time they had moved it, and it was more difficult to dig.
We worked out that it was because it was much wetter now, and also today it, had become solid with the frost.
This however did not affect the enthusiasm of this group and the girls and boys had soon filled three wheel barrows.
A final thick mulch was put onto the butterfly garden, and it looked great. More barrows soon full, then the children pushed these into the learning garden , and spread some onto the flower borders, we took some photos, and it was time to swap groups, Ben, and Lauren were awarded dojos.
The second group to come out  wanted to have a look at the pond, this we did, and the children noticed that algae had formed in parts of the pond, we were hoping to remove it, but the pond was still three quarters frozen over, so I explained that we will do this next term.
How ever the garden section in the pond area needed some mulch, to protect the plants, so the children went over to the bark heap to fill the barrows.
With the pond area carefully mulched, we now had time to take two wheel barrow loads of bark out to the front of the school, the team put the bark around all of the plants and into the big wooden planters, this made the front of the school look much neater,  the children were very well behaved, then the parents began to arrive at the school gate, so it was time to take back the barrows, tools, gloves and change out of our wellies, ready to go home. We just had to wait for Shayne, as he would not leave until he had finished brushing all the pathways, well done to him.
Alex, Luke and Shayne, were awarded a dojo each, for excellent work and thoughtfulness today.

The children have now removed almost 60 barrow loads of bark, this is brilliant, we still however have a few more to go, Dragonfly class will be ready to get digging next week we hope.

Friday 6th February The big garden bird watch with Butterfly Class

A group of six children came out into the learning garden to look for birds with me today.
Each child had a sheet from the RSPB and a clip board, and a pencil, the first place to look for birds was over near “cobby”, there are a lot of birds usually in the boundary hedge, but today it was very windy indeed so there was not a bird insight.
However out on the playing field, two black headed gulls, had landed, the children wanted to know why the sea birds were on the school field, I explained that there was an old saying that if sea birds are in land then it was rough weather out at sea.
Then just in front of us  landed twenty crows, so the larger birds seem to manage better in the windy weather, I then collected the children’s sheets, ready to enter their information onto the website, well done butterfly class.
Just before shutting up the garden, I set up the wildlife camera again, this time we put it near to the bird table so we hope to get some images on the camera this time.

Tuesday 10th February

Dragonfly Class

I can not believe that we have reached the end of another term, `out in the learning garden, with good weather the children have been kept very busy.
Today Mr John chose seven children who had not been in the garden for a while, putting their coats on we made our way over to the learning lodge.
The first job for today was to sow some “grow your own mushrooms” this is a first for “green fingered” garden club, but we hope it will be successful.
I explained to the children how mushrooms were safe to eat, but on the other had “toad stools” which looked a lot like the mushroom could be very poisonous, and the children must not pick any in the garden, or in woodlands that they see!
I took them over to an old log which had some growing there, and I removed these, this group were very good at listening, and asked lots of questions, I also showed them some pictures.
Now with our latex gloves on it was time to sow our safe mushrooms, the group carefully mixed the growing medium, with the mycelium spores(mushrooms), this they loved doing and wanted to know when they would start growing,.
We took them over to dragonfly class and put them into their box in a warm place, and we are very much hoping to see some tiny mushrooms in a couple of weeks.
This group then came back out into the garden to also do an RSPB bird watch, so removing their gloves and putting them into the bin, we then set off around the garden spotting birds.
Starlings, crows and two bluetits were spotted, now it was time for the group to go back to class.
Ms Palmer asked me to explain to the class, all about the mushroom kit, and also about the big garden bird watch, the children were very good at listening.
With fifteen minutes remaining before the end of the day, four children who were keen to come out with me. Each child was given a spotter sheet, then we went onto the playing field and over to the butterfly garden to look for birds were using their spotter sheets, we saw two robins, three feral pigeons, a blackbird and two chaffinches, and even a few rays of sun.
Just two dojos were awarded toady for great concentration, and listening. Well done dragon fly class.

Next term, we very much hope two start sowing some of our seeds, and also making some new bird feeders!

 

Autumn Term Two

Tuesday November 4th

Dragonfly Class

As we begin another new term, the weather now begins to feel a bit like winter.
I made my way over to Mr John, as he was finishing one of his PE lessons, to choose the first green fingered gardeners, plenty of hands went up.
This first group , had coats on and gardening gloves as it was a bit on the chilly side, gathering their tools, the boys were ready to start planting.
The children were planting out wall flowers today; these will bring a scented splash of colour in the late spring.
Carefully using their trowels the children dug holes, quite deep in which to put the long thin roots of the small plants, these were then firmed in and watered well.
The team planted twenty of these around the learning garden; the next job was to plant out some perennial plants.
We took these plants over to the butterfly garden “ox eye daisies” were the first group of plants to put in; these were given to us by Jane Jeans.
The team put in several new plants to hopefully attract more butterflies in the summer the boys worked well and remember their planting technique, time for the next group.
It was time for some girls to be chosen to come and do gardening, once they were kitted out with gloves and coats, we went into the lodge to plant winter onions.
The children mixed equal parts of soil and compost which made a good growing medium in which to plant the seed onions, these were put into single cell trays, very neatly by the girls.
The children labelled these and we took them over to the ecohouse to over winter, then these will have a head start in the spring.
Finally there was just enough time to plant some bee plants into the lavender patch, we hope this will help our bee population in the summer.
The girls had time to wash their hands and get ready to go home two dojos were awarded today.
We have now planted all of the plants out, ready for spring, the ecohouse is getting quite full, with plants to over winter, and we managed to take some photos to look back on.
There is a still lots to do though, including planting thirty small trees! We will soon have a school forest!

Friday Hedgehog and bird feeding with Dragonfly Class

Today out in the learning garden I had a very happy group of children from dragonfly class; the little ones love to fill up the feeders with all manner of wild bird food.
Mr Howell kindly helped us collect some of the feeders as they are quite high up.
After cleaning all of the feeders, the group filled the holders with wild bird seed, fat balls and peanuts, these were then hug on the feeding station and around the garden.
Finally the children then put out some hedgehog food near the maze; we keep hoping that we might see one on our camera!
Mr Howell then with the help of the group set up the wildlife camera, we hope that wildlife will visit our learning garden soon!

Monday November 10th

Hedgehog Class

A change of day this week for garden club, as the weather forecast is wet all day tomorrow.
Mrs Marshall was out in the playground with hedgehog class doing some games, but I still had seven children ready and willing to come out into the learning garden.
With a grey sky over head it was time to get started , as rain was forecast for 3 p.m, so we had just under two hours to remove rather a lot of chipped bark from the car park.
The team put on their wellies and went into the garden to collect spades and wheel barrows, which we carefully took over to the large mound of bark, this came from the school trees being pruned.
Before I could say “lets go” the children were on the heap digging away, but then they noticed that the heap was very warm, through their wellies, I explained that it was the breaking down of the micro organisms giving the heap its heat.
That it would cool down in time as it was a very new pile.
I also told the children not to worry we did not need to call the “Fire Brigade “as steam filtered up through the heap.
The wheel barrows were soon full to the top and we carefully took the bark over to the maze and then shovelled it onto the pathway, this will be much better for the children to walk on.
Ten barrow loads were tipped onto the maze area, then the team put another twelve on to the path way, this was very hard work, but we all had great fun doing this job, when we have chipped bark to move the children always love doing it, hedgehog class are great at working out the best strategy for getting the task done.
It was now time for home, some dojos we awarded, and although there is still a large pile the children loaded and emptied 24 barrow loads today fantastic!

Friday setting up the wildlife camera with butterfly class

Mrs Edwards kindly let me choose some children from her singing group, to come out into the learning garden with me.
The children went into the shed to find the bird food and also the cat biscuits to put out for the hedgehogs.
We had a discussion about which was the place to attach the wildlife camera, but before we were able to do this the children had to fill the bird feeders with seed, and put out some more food for the hedgehogs under its shelter. The group loved doing this.
Then with great excitement we attached the camera to one of the posts by the cob oven, this was the children’s idea to then face it onto the boundary hedge as we could already see some birds in the hedge.
One of the children then switched the camera to on; we then went back to the shed to put the food away.
Before shutting the gate the children wanted one last check to see that the light was still on.

The results, after Mr Howell had down loaded the information on to our laptop, were;-
In the hours between 6pm and 7am out come lots of very large slugs, travelling in and out of the compost bin these were fascinating!
A cat with its large bright eyes looked straight at the camera, quite spooky!
Something then landed in the tree, it was a bit too far away to see what it was, could be an owl?
Finally as day breaks, a thrush, a finch and a robin all gather on top of the compost bin to peck at the seed, also other birds swing on the feeders, these are the best results yet. The children will get to see them soon.

Tuesday 18th November

Ladybird Class

A lovely dry day awaits the green fingered gardeners today, as I entered Miss Smith’s class there were lots of volunteers once again.
With wellies and latex gloves on, today there was a bit of a challenge for this group, as the RSPB had sent us some information on how to go about making a “tree face” in our learning garden for a competition they are running.
I had barrowed the modelling clay from ladybird class to use as a sticking base on the largest tree in the garden.
The team set off around the garden and then down across the playing field to gather using their trugs , leaves, twigs, bark , cones , moss and all manner of things that they wanted to use to make their tree face.
I put on a base of clay first, then the children added to it, a messy job, but the team worked well together.
It was now time for the children to be creative, very soon a large face was beginning to appear!
Brightly coloured leaves for the hair, an old cork for a nose, and grass for a beard Owen, Harley and Jaiden worked well. Then it was time for Rachael and Tasmin as it was the girls turn to do some decorating they used flowers for eyes, whilst the boys used oak apples for teeth, and teasels for the top of the head, the girls put on the final touch with berries for rosy cheeks.
We took lots of photos; the children did a fantastic job and had such fun making it, dojos were awarded.
I will send the photos to the RSPB we might be in with a chance to win a pair of binoculars!
The boys were now being a bit silly so time to take them back into class and let some other children come out into the garden.
Wellies on and thick gardening gloves for these children, as the veg plots all needed weeding!
Very soon the wheel barrows were full, and the team had removed most of the large weeds, this was a hard sticky task but again the children love using the big tools.
The plots looked much better, and the children managed to dig two areas over before, their forks and wellies became too thick with mud.
Christopher, Grace, River and Sid offered to help move the dividing planks, which Mr Atkins had given us, over to a dry site for the winter, so these children were each given a dojo, for working extra hard.
A very enjoyable day out in the garden, with lots of fun elements!

Finding a new site for the camera with Dragonfly Class:

A group of exited children came out to feed the birds and other wildlife in the garden today.
All the feeders were filled to the top; the children all had gloves on doing this so it was a bit tricky.
The children helped me hang these in the trees, then a bit of seed was scattered for the ground feeding birds, finally we treaded the last of the school apples onto a wire and hung these up too.
The wildlife camera was then strapped to a tree and the children turned it on and waited for the red light.
We can’t wait to see if there is anything creeping about in our learning garden!

Monday 24th November

Butterfly Class

A different day for garden club again this week as tomorrow promises to be a wet one!
Ms Palmer was in Mrs Bendells class today, and she kindly chose me the first group of green fingered gardeners, these children had all been working hard today.
Wellies, gloves and coats on they were keen to get started.
The children collected all manner of tools today as we had quite a few different tasks, these included, pruning, cutting, hoeing, raking and digging!
This group set to work on the lavender patch, all of the dead flowers needed to be removed, so the plants will produce lots of new ones next year, for the bees and butterflies.
The children, worked hard, clearing the weeds as well, then using their trowels the group planted out some bluebells, daffodils and anomies, for spring colour.
There was just time for them to collect some wood bark from our pile to use as mulch, Ben Mi, Ellie, Alex, and Oakley, who is a new class member, did a brilliant job.
Time just whizzes by when we are out in the garden, so out came the next group once kitted out with gloves etc, this group already had tools in their hands ready to do some gardening.
The butterfly garden needed a lot of dead heading and cutting back ready for winter, so using shears and pruners, which these children already know how to use safely, they set to work.
Removing brambles, weeds, long dead stalks from the hollyhocks, which were much taller than the children, buddleia branches which were overhanging on to the path way, and generally making this garden look much tidier.
The wheel barrows were full all three of them, so back over to the learning garden we went, to empty this onto our very tall compost heap.
Just time for this group to fill two barrows full of wood bark, this was great fun for the children, if a little dirty, (so if the children came home with a bit of mud on their clothes, I am very sorry as we do our best too keep clean, but the children love to get stuck in especially the boys!).
Bark mulch was now carefully put out onto the flower borders, Finlay, Sasha, Caitlin and Lauren all worked very well, some dojos were awarded again today.
Sue Rolls came out to give us some brown bread for the birds, the children love feeding birds, when this was done it was time for home.

Somerset Wildlife Trust, Barn owl Appeal

The school is a member of the trust, so we were sent, a barn owl game to do, to see if we could raise money for a nesting box for our native “Barn Owl”.
Thank you to all of you who had a go! Parents, staff, children and villagers.
We raised a fantastic £41, which I will sent to the trusts , so that they are able to put up a barn owl nesting box, and also a dormouse nesting box, out in one of their safe woodland sites.
The amount of £50 was sent in total to the trusts; this will enter us in for a competition to win a hand made nesting box.

Friday “bird feeding with Ladybird class”

The week just flies by, time for our garden birds and wildlife to have some more food put out for them, especially as there was a sighting of a “ fox” in the learning garden this week.
The group wrapped up warm putting on their coats. Collecting the feeders to clean, ready to put in the seed, when they were all full, we chose a suitable site to hang them.
The school camera was then set to run, and we hope that it will capture some wildlife, even a fox!
Time for the children to go back to their class, as it is assembly today.

Tuesday 2nd December

Dragonfly Class

A nice dry day, if a little cold for” green fingered” garden club.
Mr John let me choose five children to come out into the lodge to do the last of the bulb planting today.
Coats and gloves on the children were keen to get started, and also they would have time to go back and join in with PE.
The children had the containers in which they put compost, in one, gravel in the next and chipped bark into the last one, I had to explain where the bark had come from, and we discussed how a big machine would have cut the logs into tiny pieces, called a shredder.
I had rescued a clear plastic, bear, person from the skip along time ago; which I thought that the children might like to put to good use!
We decided to fill it with spring bulbs, so the children in the class could watch them grow.
This little group were so good they carefully, put in a layer of gravel, then bark and finally compost, the bear was then half full, so it was time to put in the bulbs.
Holding them the right way up, the children put in, blue bells, and daffodils, then more bark, then compost was put in too cover these bulbs, and it was time for the next layer.
They added crocus, and anomies, finally they gave him some hair, by planting a primrose onto. And their favourite part next watering.
They named the bear “cuddles” and we very carefully took him back to dragonfly class,  Alfie, Morley, Charlie, Chloe and Katie were very proud of him..

Time for one more group to come out into the learning garden, Mr John gave me six children this time, they had two tasks to do.
Firstly, we colleted the two hanging baskets from the playground which had to be emptied, then the children filled these with compost, and gravel for drainage, then it was time to out in the bulbs, cover with compost and then the children then carefully put in some different colour primroses, this was done really well.
I managed to take some photos, as the children insisted on carrying these back over to the playground to hang them back up on the brackets.
Ten minutes left, so the children removed the summer plants from the garden, which now the frost had got, leaving these plants a bit slimy!
Over to the compost bin to put in these plants, then the team said Mrs Howell, we need some more food put on the table for the birds as it is cold, we went over to the shed to collect the seed, and hedgehog food.
Once this was put out, the children thought that, the best place to set up that camera was on the bird table, which I thought was fantastic, now we can wait and see if, it has captured any creatures on it, last week, we only had leaves blowing in the wind.
Time to get ready to go home now.

Tuesday 9th December

Hedgehog Class

On entering the school this afternoon, it was very busy, with visitors, one of which was an “OFSTED” inspector.
I made my way over to Mrs Marshall’s class to collect a group of children she had chosen to come out into the learning garden.
A blustery day, to be outside but the children love the fresh air never the less.
We went into the lodge; the children had put on their wellies, and already gone into the shed to collect the draw of garden gloves.
Today as we were going to be working with, small pieces of foliage, the children were given latex gloves to use instead. These were new for us to use, for the cleaner jobs in the garden, like bird feeding and the making of Yule logs, which is the project for today.
The children then, had a brief reminder about, safety, when using sharp tools, especially as we had a new class member, with us today.
Setting off around the garden to collect foliage to use in making a Yule log, we then had the OFSTED inspector come out to visit us and to see the sort of thing the children were doing in the learning garden.
He talked to the group, who explained there task for today, as well as asking me, to give him a brief history of the garden.
Foliage collected, the team then each had a log, which had come from one of the schools felled trees, which Mr Howell had kindly cut into small sections, for the children to use, a plastic candle holder was then attached to the log, and this would act as a base for their foliage.
Green oasis foam was carefully put into the holder, and it was well soaked with water, now the children chose a candle to put into the centre.
Using the greenery they had gathered, this was put around the candle, a very tricky task for the group, some managed better than others, boys and girls alike.
The Yule logs were now beginning to take shape, with finishing touches of tinsel, Christmas characters, berries, and a nice bow, these now looked fantastic.
This group , had as well as making them to find inspiration, as this task was done with out a template, well done, some dojos were awarded , and we hope to be able to sell these next week.
With the Yule logs safely stored in the shed, the group just had time to plant out some tree seedlings which were given to us by the “woodland trust”.
It was down to the children to choose suitable sites for these, so they would have space to grow, this was done very well.
Courtney, David, Dominic, Catlin, Jayden and Karl worked well as a team today.

Friday a few volunteers came out into the learning garden to put out some more food for the wildlife.
The children put out some cat biscuits, for the hedgehogs, and our visiting fox.
Then we just had tome to fill all the bird feeders, and remove the camera, still not good images yet, we will re-set it over the Christmas period.

Tuesday 16th December
Ladybird Class

 

Looking up into the sky there were grey clouds overhead, but no rain thankfully, as ladybird class, who are the last group of this term had quite a lot to do today.
Miss Smith let me choose the teams today, so the first group of six children put on their coats, and each then put on a pair of the thin gloves ready for their making task today.
This group were going to make table decorations, using lots of foliage from the garden, which the children collected.
Last year we made these types of decorations, some of the group remembered doing it, so I asked two of this team to explain what they had remembered; I was so pleased that they knew quite a lot.
When making this last year, I had made a template, but this year, the children used ideas from each other.
Green plastic dishes were filled with oasis foam, and then taped in with pot tape; these were then put into a bucket of water to soak.
Fern like foliage was then put all around the edge of the dish, and a plastic candle holder placed in the centre.
Time to put in some more foliage, and then a ring of holly, and ivy, it was fine to use this as all of the children had their latex gloves on.
Finally it was time to add some more exciting items, these being red baubles, pine cones, ribbon, and berries.
The children made a really great job of these, and had fun in doing it, it made them fill like Christmas, they said.
Time for the final group of the afternoon, I chose another six children to come out into the lodge, once their gloves were on the children wanted to make a start.
I explained to the group, that we were going to make table decorations, and that they could get ideas, from what the first group had achieved.
Dishes filled with foam, soaked and candle holders put in the children had soon, put in most of their foliage, more holly was needed so three of the children went over to the school trees to cut off just some small pieces.
It was now time to put on the finishing touches, baubles, red silk flowers, sparkling tinsel and pine cones, these all looked fantastic, the children looked very pleased with what they had produced, and it was now getting a bit cold so time to go back to the class.
We took some photos, and then I put all these arrangements safely in to the shed.
We hope to sell them tomorrow to raise some money for the learning garden.
Four dojos were awarded today for concentration, and helpfulness.

I can not believe we are at the end of another term, and nearly at the end of 2014, we have had a lot to do, and made great use of the learning lodge this term, and had lots of fun too!
Wishing you all a happy new year.




ST. NICHOLAS SCHOOL GARDEN CLUB

2014/15 GARDEN PROJECT CALENDER/DIARY.

 

Autumn Term One

Tuesday 9th September

Hedgehog class

The school year just flies by, as we enter a new season; we also enter a whole new school year.
As I enter hedgehog class, Mrs Marshall, kindly picks some volunteers to come out into the learning garden, where there is still a great deal of work to be done.
Through the summer holidays, myself and Mrs Shearer have kept it watered, made sure the pond pump has kept going for the wildlife, and generally kept the learning and butterfly garden ticking along.
Now it is time for the children to take over, and we need to start harvesting the garden produce, as well as watering and keeping on top of the weeds.
My gardeners today are digging for potatoes, we hope to find some as at the end of last term, the potato crop suffered from a bit of “blight” and we had to destroy all of the greenery.
The team spread out along the potato trenches, and began digging, the children were quite excited, as this was their plot and they had planted out the small seed potatoes back in march.
As we all dug, all sorts of shape and size potatoes started to appear, some very small, some very big, and ones which were long thin and pink (these were pink fur apple), finally some which the children said looked just like the shape of a kidney.
These are a new variety which were called “kidney”.
This group had great fun in the sunshine, we then had to double dig the plot, which is great foe the soil and also we were able to find yet more potatoes.

Out came the second group, and although the hard work had been done, these children had the nice job of sorting, grading and best of all washing the potatoes.
When water is involved the children always seem to love it, the team washed the crop and put them to dry in the sun, and then we put the potatoes into the shed.
These will then be put into bags next week, and we are hopefully going to sell some of them at Waitrose/Gillingham, on their “sow and sell” scheme.
This was a nice afternoon, out in the learning garden, and we were all pleased to find so many potatoes.

 

During the summer holidays we raised another £9.10 from selling our school garden produce.

 

 

Thursday 11th September

Butterfly class

Today was an extra gardening class, as we still needed to sow our final crop for Waitrose.
Six children came out with me into the learning lodge, they could not wait to get sowing, another sunny day for gardening.
The group all had the potting trays, trugs, fine compost, labels and packets of seed.
What are we going to plant asked the children, I explained that it was cress, a bit late in the season, but we needed to have it ready to sell at the Waitrose School selling produce event.
I was then asked where the flower pots for sowing the seed in are, I then brought out the recycled coffee and tea cups which myself, family and Mrs Shearer had collected.
The children thought this was great fun! There were all sizes and colours of these.
The team filled each one nearly to the top and then sprinkled the cress seed to cover most of the compost, watered and labelled each pot, and then we made “hats” using cling film.
Being a bit tricky, and blowing away, the children suggested that we might tie them on, so we did using string.
This group from butterfly worked so well that they were all awarded a dojo.

The cress is now at home so that I can keep a watch. And we can hopefully sell them next week, we very much hope that Waitrose like their recycled coffee cups!

 

Back in August, Stalbridge Society held their Annual show and I managed to enter some of the school garden produce in it.
I gathered “Spartan” apples, entered runner beans, lettuce, sweet peas and our first ever marrow , grown on a recycled wooden pallet.
We have entered a few times in the past and this year the school had a 3rd for the sweet peas and a 1st for the loose leaf lettuce and we were really pleased to get another 1st for our marrow.
The show was well worth entering with over 540 entries.
Tuesday 16th September

Ladybird Class

It was another lovely day, to get on with work out in the learning garden.
Miss Smith chose her first five children to come out with me, there were lots of volunteers in class again today.
The children put on their wellies and gloves then collected tools from the shed, and he wheelbarrows ready for weeding.
Some of the produce in the plots had gone past its best, so it needed to be removed before any pests or disease got back into the soil.
The children just love weeding, they had to pull and tug at some of the perennial weeds, when this did not work, and the boys asked if they were able to use the large forks, these were just the job.
Wheelbarrows full to the top, the children then took all three barrows over to the compost area, and emptied them, another favourite task they like doing.
I had remembered to set the timer today so unfortunately, forty minutes were up, for this group.
Our came the second group, once kitted up their task was to be putting in new plants.
We had bought a new trough to put up next to the new wooden fence around the oil tank, so the children were very keen to fill it and some other pots too.
Some stone for weight and drainage were put in the bottom then the team chose spring bulbs to put on the fist layer of compost, these bubs were tulips, allium’s, crocus and bluebells.
Once these were put in the right way up we hope, another layer of compost was carefully put in and the children then planted heather and violas, this was done very well, this group had remembered all had learnt about putting in new plants.
Once these containers were finished the children watered them well, and we then loaded them into the wheelbarrow and carefully took then up to the fence, these were then put into position and the children had their photos taken.
We are now looking forward to the spring to see the bulbs come up.
Just Time now for the last group to come out into the learning lodge to sort and grade our potatoes, which hedgehog class had dug and washed last week.
The children managed to make up eight bags of potatoes ready for us to sell at Waitrose on Friday; we did this in the lovely warm sunshine.
A very productive afternoon in the garden this week for ladybird class.

 

 

Wednesday 17th September

 

Harvesting the produce for “Grow and Sell” at Waitrose

 

Good weather was on our side once again; as we set off out into the garden, with baskets and trugs to collect the produce.
The children worked in pairs , collecting apples, runner beans, dwarf beans, lettuce, lots of courgettes which were all shapes and sizes, and then we managed to find some large beetroot and the children dug up some of our best ever leeks.
Two children then went over to the pallet garden and brought back a marrow, whilst another group went into the ecohouse to pick tomatoes , chillies and cucumbers, they also came out with a slug , two snails and a couple of spiders, we all then laughed as we did not think we would be able to sell these.
With produce collected from all around the learning garden, the children then came into the lodge with me, and we bagged up, labelled and priced the produce.
I then took it home to keep it cool and fresh until Friday, this team of children worked really well together today.

 

Thursday 18th September

Myself and two children from hedgehog class , had just a bit more bagging and pricing to do, as Mr and Mrs O’Donnell  very kindly brought in some more produce for us to sell, which granddad had grow.
These were carrots, red potatoes and “huge” onions; this was a fantastic boost to our produce, “Thank you”.

 

 

Waitrose “Grow and Sell” day, Friday 19th September

This is a new experience for us, so Mrs Rosycki and myself loaded up our cars with the produce, money collecting jar, growing calendar chart and of course the children.
We were able to take Carenza, Dominic, Alex.H, Caitlin, Sid and Rebecca, with us to Waitrose store in Gillingham.
When we arrived, we were greeted by a very nice member of staff, who had put out a table for us, next to St Mary’s school from Marnhull, they had also brought along their produce.
We had a lot of produce to sell, runner beans, carrots, beetroot, lettuce, rosemary, tomatoes, cucumbers, apples, cress and those huge onions; this meant that our table was very full.
The children stood behind the table, each one had their own job to do, as in handing out carrier bags to customers, giving change, explaining how we had grown our produce, talking about the school, and finally trying to attract customers, by showing our produce, and handing it to the public so they could get a closer look.
One of the managers came to take a look, photograph us and even buy some of our produce, and also some from St Mary’s.
The adults were then treated to a coffee, and the children all had a drink, biscuits and grapes, the children loved this!
Our two hours were nearly up, it had just flown by, and the children had one last push to sell the remaining produce, which they did really well.
There were just some of our recycled waitrose cups full of cress left, (The team from the office thought this was a fantastic idea, very inventive we were told).
With just enough time to quickly count up the money, before we had to head back to school for lunch.
A big thank you to Mrs Rosycki for all her help with the very well behaved children and transport.
We raised just over £50 this is fantastic and hopefully will go some way towards a wildlife camera for the children.
The Waitrose “Sow and Sell” scheme has been a really successful idea.
This was a great morning and we all enjoyed it, and had fun!

 

Tuesday 23rd September

Butterfly Class

 

On entering Mrs Bendell’s class today, there were lots of hands put up when she asked for volunteers for gardening, this was lovely to see.
The sun was shining once again for us today, and my first group of gardeners were keen to get started.
I explained to this group that, butterfly needed to weed the butterfly garden; the children thought this sounded funny.
With wellies on and gardening gloves too, the group collected tools and the wheel barrows, we took great care in passing the parked cars, and kept to the path way.
The children began by removing the larger weeds first, we are very glad to have on the gloves as there were a few brambles and a few too many stinging nettles; we removed some of these and kept some as they provide a good home for caterpillars and moth larva.
wheel barrow number one was then full to the top, the group then worked very hard using their towels to remove ,plants like dandelions, dock , goose grass and white dead nettle , again we left a few of these for our wildlife.
The last group of the day came out to remove a few more weeds, and then, the team took their kneeling mats over to the lavender patch, alongside dragonfly class.
Perfume from the lavender and rosemary, was what the children first noticed, although it did make a few of us sneeze, (including me).
Weeding this bed was a bit more of a challenge foe this group, as there was not a great deal of room in between the plants, but they did a fantastic job.
Finally the children planted out three more lavender plants and just a few spring bulbs, which were bought with some of the garden fund money.
Once again a good afternoon out in the garden and all the children behaved well, three dojos were given today.

 

Friday 26th September

Bird feeding in the learning garden with dragonfly class.

I had a very keen group of reception children, out with me today, and I was so impressed that the children all remembered my name, (I just have to remember all of theirs now!).
Mr Howell came in to reach down the empty feeders for us, as the feeding station is quite tall.
Each child was given a feeder to fill, with sunflower hearts, peanuts and wild bird seed, we were able to sit at the benches in the sunshine today it was lovely.
Feeders full to the top, the children then chose where they would like to hang them, Mr Howell helped us out with this again.
We just had time to collect some fallen apples, and thread them onto a wire to hang in the tree; we all hope that the birds come out to find the food now.
Just before the bell rang for home Mrs Carswell came back out into the garden as the children wanted to show her what they had been doing, they were so excited!
We then had a few minutes to go down to the bottom of the field to the wildlife corner to look for “slow worms”,
Unfortunately, although the children were quite, we could not find any, but in the wooden tepee, we saw a lovely sleeping toad and a tiny little frog, the children loved this, now it was time for home.
I would like to develop this little wildlife corner, so that we can attract even more wildlife!

 

 

Tuesday 30th September

Dragonfly Class
Dragonfly class were having a great P. E lesson with Mr John when I came in today, the weather was just fine.
I went out into the learning garden to set out the jobs which the class needed to do today.
Whilst the children were getting changed out of their P.E kits, I was able to catch up with watering, it had been dry for a while now and some of the plants were starting to wilt.
Mrs Carswell said there were not that many year ones in today, so perhaps the whole group could come out, the children were all very pleased to go gardening.
The children were split into three groups; each group had a different job to do.
The children helped me carry compost, gloves, trowels, plants and bulbs into the learning lodge, where we were going to work today.
Group one had a brightly painted metal container in which they carefully put compost, then spring bulbs , when these were covered up the girls then planted pansies, heathers, violets and primroses, the girls made a beautiful job of this.
Meanwhile the boys had a wooden box in which to plant a mini garden, they filled it half full with compost, then planted some crocus, daffodils and alliums, these bulbs were then covered.
The boys then soaked a small piece of turf, ( which was left over from the goal posts), when this was nice and damp, we then cut it so it fitted neatly into the box, the boys loved this as it was very different.
Now all they had to do was put in a few winter onions, and add a toy hedgehog, it looked great!
The other group of girls were very busy, scooping out the old soil in the cultivator, ready to plant it, for the winter.
New compost was added, then the girls put in some more spring bulbs, then heather, violets, and white primroses, again this looked lovely.
We now just had time to, pick some produce ready for harvest this week, the boys picked the pumpkin and the girls our butternut squashes from the pallet garden.
Just time to also empty out our recycled supermarket shopping bags we had planted with seed potatoes earlier in the year, we were amazed there were lots of potatoes, also pink fur apple potatoes too.
The children took them into show the teachers, and they also now have some in their class to show the reception children.
A lovely afternoon in the garden, with lots of very well behaved children.

This week I bought , with some of our garden fund money, spring bulbs, compost, some plants a butterfly, a small solar lamp and a tomato self watering tray for next summer, thank you , the money from the fruit and veg sales really do help.

 

Thursday 2nd October

Collecting Produce for “Harvest” with Butterfly class

 

A group of volunteers came out into the learning garden with me today to collect the last of the produce for the harvest festival in the church.
The team picked quite a few runner beans , its seams to have been quite a long growing season for these this year, then the last of the beetroot were pulled up, these were not as big as we had hoped, but the children found a few.
Courgettes were cut from the large plants, which are flowering well, and the children were just able to reach the sweet corn, these plants are the biggest we have ever grown.
With all the vegetables gathered, we then went in search for fruit, in the ecohouse we found some tomatoes, then the children went in search for “apples” and they found quite a few, including a branch which had ten apples on it, this was cut and put into the staff room for all to see, and enjoy!, we also gave Ms Palmer some produce for the harvest display in dragonfly class.
The children loved this task today and could really see the benefit of growing your own.
I put the produce into two baskets, one for “key stage one” and the other for “ key stage two”, the potatoes,  chillies and butternut squash were added that we had harvested earlier, and they looked fantastic.
These made £12 on Sunday in church for “Christian aid” well done children.

 

 

Tuesday 7th October

Hedgehog Class

 

Time seams to be really flying by in the garden this year, and autumn is now hear so there is a lot for the children to do out in the learning garden.
Today the children had the task of “clearing the maze area” this was probably the most difficult job to do in the garden, due to the fact that over the last couple of years, the maze has developed and there are many more plants and shrubs to look after, and these need to be pruned and not cut off by mistake.
The children all put on wellies and the thick gloves to protect their hands, as there were lots of nettles to remove, so we took all the wheelbarrows over to the maze and after the health and safety talk on using cutters and shears, the children began at the beginning of the maze by removing as many of the nettles they could, whilst these are beneficial to some insects, there are just too many clumps now and they are taking over, smothering some of the more beneficial plants.
This was proving a very hard task, but the children from hedgehog class said that they were still enjoying it, which was great.
When we had cleared half of the maze, two of the group went to do P.E and we were joined by two more year fives, after working for one and a half hours, we had finished, most of the nettles had been removed, (they will come back in the spring I am sure), and then we also removed some invasive weeds, and couch grass.
The group then emptied the wheelbarrows onto the compost heap, which is now extremely high, the area looks much better, and safer for the little ones to explore, we then just had time to do some pond dipping, and some of us managed a bit of weeding in this area too!
Three of the seven children were awarded dojos today, for their extra hard work in quite difficult conditions, well done gardening team.

 

 

Friday 10th October

Installing the Wildlife Camera

All of hedgehog class, including Mrs Marshall, came out in to the learning garden this afternoon with me to help set up the new wildlife camera. This has been purchased using the money from the Waitrose selling scheme, a kind donation from Henstridge Line Dancers and money raised at the Henstridge car boot.

The children thought that it would be good to position the camera on one of the posts in the lodge, facing into the pond area; this should take in the bird feeding station also, we very much hope that it spots some of the garden wildlife.
Mrs Shearer came out to take some photos, and she is going to put them onto the school website.
This camera has night vision and works on a sensor, once it has captured the wildlife, we can down load this information onto a stick or disc and the children can then down load it onto their laptops.
The children seem excited about this so we all look forward to seeing the images!

 

Tuesday 14th October

Ladybird Class

 

Looking at the weather today, I thought that it was unlikely that the children were going to be able to do much gardening.
I managed in the rain to set out the potting benches in the learning lodge, and then I was able to gather together all the hanging baskets, flowerpots and tubs from around the school and put them into the lodge.
It was now time to collect some children from ladybird class, as the first group of volunteers were putting on their wellies and coats, amazingly it stopped raining.
Gloves and aprons on the children were keen to get started; each child was given a nice purple flower pot in which to plant some spring bulbs.
The children used their maths skills to work out how many bulbs for each pot, as we had different amounts of each type.
Tulips, daffodils, brodia, crocus, alliums and even some winter onions were carefully planted at different levels according to the size of the bulb, and then the children carefully covered the bulbs with compost.
Each pot then had a lovely bright pansy planted in the middle to give a bit of winter colour.
This group then took out some of the old compost from the terracotta pots, planted some new bulbs then more compost and added some hardy plants for the winter, just time now to load the big wheel barrow and place the pot around the school, brilliant teamwork by this group.
The last group of green finger gardeners came out into the lodge and with them out came the sun, although a little watery.
This group had the task of emptying all of the summer hanging baskets; this was done well with not too much dirt getting everywhere!.
The children then filled the baskets with fresh compost; some more spring bulbs and winter plants for colour, we then took them over to the brackets around the garden and school, gave them just a drop of water and hung them up for all to see.
We just had time to do a bit of clearing away, and then go over to the orchard maze to find the last of the apples to take back to ladybird class ,  as they were going to draw them for the “Apple day competition “ at Quiet corner farm.
The first group had also potted up the geraniums to over winter in the ecohouse “ we hope”, so I was then reminded by the final group that these needed to into the ecohouse , so we just had time to put them in, and oh no! It had started to rain again, time to go home I think, but not before three dojos were awarded to those children who had worked especially hard in the learning garden today.

 

 

 

Friday 17th October

Bird feeding with Butterfly Class

Out came some willing volunteers into the learning garden, these children gave up their golden time to come out into the garden with me.
We collected all of the feeders from around the garden, and then gave them a good clean as the rain had penetrated some of the feeders and made the seed sprout; I explained to the children that if we did not get rid of this the birds would not be able to reach the new dry seed.
The group filled all of the feeders with different bird food, and then these were put back on the feeding station and hung up in the trees.
We then just had time before assembly to place some saucers of food which we hope might attract the hedgehogs into the learning garden.
The wild life camera was then lowered a little to hopefully catch our visiting wild life to the garden, (we have taken the clip to see what is on the film but as yet , it has not spotted any wild life only  trees blowing in the wind , but it is  working well though.)
Now it is time for key stage ones assembly and it looks like rain again!

 

 

Tuesday 21 October

 

Butterfly Class

 

I can not believe that we are at the end of another term, so today’s green fingered volunteers have a great deal to do out in the learning garden.
On my way down to butterfly class the wind was blowing in heavy gusts, I hoped that we will be able to stand up out there in the veg patch.
Mrs Bendell chose very carefully those children who had worked well and completed their work, so they were free to come out into the garden with me.
Wellies, gloves and aprons on today to keep us all clean, the first group collected wheel barrows spades and trowels then we were all ready to start work on clearing the veg patch ready for winter.
The group collected the last of the produce, also some beans that we could dry off, then save the seed to use next year.
Plant wigwams were pulled up by the boys , the garden canes were then tied up and put into the shed to use again in the late spring, the girls worked very hard pulling and digging up weeds and old veg plants, very soon the wheel barrows were all very full and needed to be taken down to the compost heap.
Our school compost heap is now much, much taller than all of us, Ben M and Oliver said that we needed to put some into the plastic compost bins, so that is where the next load went.
There goes the timer, ready for the next group to come out; the first group worked really well in difficult windy weather, two dojo awarded.
Ben Mi, Mia and Ellie were the last group of the day, and we could not believe that the wind was blowing even stronger.
The children collected the large trugs to put the last of the summer flowering plants into; we dug these out quickly, and then took the containers over to the lodge, ready for the children to pot up into flower pots.
Once the team had put the, lilies, gladioli and some other large plants which were grown from seed, but we have lost the label, so we are looking forward to see what they will grow into next spring, into the flower pots, we managed to take them over to the ecohouse to over winter.
The children asked what was the next job to do ?, I explained that we just had time to clear some weeds from the “bog garden”, this was now a bit like a jungle the children said, we need to sort out the plants from the weeds I explained.
The children gathered another huge pile for the compost heap, we just managed to throw it up on the top, and hopefully it will rot down a bit over the winter.
This group worked well as a team and were awarded a dojo each.
As I gather up the tools the children had carefully put along the fence, I realised we had achieved a great deal in the garden today despite the windy weather, which did not seam to bother the children at all , even though they thought that they might be blown away at one stage.
I managed to take some photos too! A lovely one of Ben Ms group carrying the giant sweet corn stalks, this was great fun!

As the bell went for the end of another school day we gathered the last few veg and distributed them amongst the parents, as a thank you for their support, in buying our produce over the year.

 

On Friday I hope to take a few children out into the garden to collect the camera, and see if it has captured any wild life!
Earlier in the week I had put out some hedgehog food under an old upturned hanging basket, with a door cut in it, this was advice collected from the national hedgehog conservation society.
I hope that it may have attracted a hedgehog or two.

Next term in the learning garden, we will be heading towards “Christmas”, so we hope to produce a few hand made items to sell!
We also need to make sure our wild life have “homes and shelter” in which to over winter.
The children need to sow a few winter veg like onions; these will give us a head start in the spring.
Although we are approaching winter the children will still have lots to do.




2013/14 GARDEN PROJECT CALENDER/DIARY.

Click here for some Green Fingers photos

Summer Term one

Dragonfly class

Thursday 24th April

Another new term, time just flies by, weather just about fine, we need to get cracking in the learning garden.
Mrs Edwards had just finished with some of the children in singing club, so it was the right time to collect some volunteers for garden club, lots of hands went up, so I said that I would take out three groups.
Wellies on, out came the first group of children, along with Ms Palmer and Albijo ,we managed to find enough gloves for the group, so we were ready to get planting.
Dragonflies plot had already been raked over to remove the weeds, and I had put out some canes to use as markers, I then explained to the group that we were going to plant onion sets, Ms Palmer and myself talked to the children about onions, how they sometimes make us cry, the children also wanted to know when we could eat the onions.
Each child had a trowel to make a hole, in which to pop the onion, there were three different types, red, yellow and white, and these all had to be planted the right way up.
This was great fun even though the little onions were popping out of their hole, but the children managed to cover them with soil, I then put a green cloche over them to stop the birds pulling them out. Well done team one, a difficult task done really well.
The second group to come out had a totally different job to do. This was to sow some seed into trays, and we used the tables in the lodge to do this task. Compost put into the seed trays filled nearly to the top dwarf beans three different types were sown, then courgettes, again several different types, round, long and different colours.
Finally three types of garden pea were sown, all the seed were covered with compost, then labelled and watered, this was all done very well by some who had done, seed sowing with me before and at home which is great, and one or two new faces to the school, who really seemed to enjoy this.
Out came my last group of the day, kitted out with gloves and wellies. The children had to fill re-cycled supermarket bags for life, with soil, and then plant seed potatoes into them, the children thought this was very different, when the potatoes were safely buried, the bags they were then filled with compost and labelled.
Into the lodge for some more planting, begonias, were planted into some large pots and then finally we had managed to over winter last years dahlias in the ecohouse, showing signs of life we re-potted them into large pots with new compost.
All the groups’ todays did really well, and their behaviour was fantastic, we achieved a great deal on our first garden club back after the Easter break.

 

Friday 25th April
RSPB Wildsquare ( Bursting into spring)

It is that time of year again, when the RSPB like our school to help by doing another survey.
With Bursting into spring, my five volunteers from Hedgehog class had to look for wildflowers in flower, of which we found many different types, around the whole of the school area.
Primroses, bluebells, cowslips, daises and many more, then we had to look for birds carrying nesting material, frogspawn, butterflies, of which we spotted two as the sun had come out, bees, lambs, unfortunately we did not find any, rabbits and caterpillars.
Finally finishing with trees which had blossom, new green leaves, and buds.
We all had fun doing this and it stayed dry, it was ten past three and the children just had time it change out of their wellies and collect their belongings, but not before I was able to give them their RSPB wild explorer badges and stickers which they loved. The children had also picked a few lily of the valley flowers from the front of the school to give to their mums which was just lovely, this included the boys too!.
Thanks to hedgehog class I can now enter this information onto the website for the RSPB and St Nicholas school will go onto their map.
I will also enter the school into the competition to win some Wildsquare wildlife CDs.

 

Tuesday 29th April

Hedgehog Class

 

Mrs Bendell chose a group of four children to come out for garden club today as it was PE, I explained that we had a lot to do in the garden, but the group were still very keen, Rose , Alex H, Kieran  and Billy.
Wellies on the team then each had a rake to get rid of all the weeds on their plot, when this was complete we were ready for planting.
As we are doing trial beds this year, the first crop for hedgehog class to put in are potatoes...
Working in pairs the children dug two deep trenches in which to plant the seed potatoes, this was hard work on this sticky ground. Then kidney and rocket varieties were planted then covered with soil.
Through the centre of the plot two trenches were dug, but only half the depth and the children planted the same type again, we are going to monitor these to see which grows best, the potatoes were covered with soil and firmed in.
Finally the group planted a mixed selection of seed potatoes, we will see how these do also, the whole plot was carefully raked level and we labelled the bed.
This task took up half the lesson, so we now had time to do something very different, which was (dry stone walling).
Mr Howell and I had moved some reclaimed stone into the leaning garden at the weekend, and the children helped me move the rest from the side of their class room, this was heavy work but we worked in pairs to make it easier and safe.
We cleared an area next to cobby, and then put some flat paving stones down to make a level base. Then very carefully we layered the stone to form a small wall, overlapping the rough stone to make it safe.
We left small pockets to put plants in at a later date.
The team completed this difficult task fantastically, the afternoons gardening was all very hard work today, but the group did so well and achieved a great deal.
We took lots of photos to show our hard work, time to go back to class and get ready for home!

Wednesday Hedgehog Class

Two of the group from garden club this week came out with me to complete the Dry stone wall, I had come in to put the final layer of heavy stones on the top of the wall and also fill the void in the middle with soil.
Rose and Alex H then came out with me to finish the top and put the final touches to our wall which was to put a piece of turf on the top which I had bought from Wheat hill garden centre.
The children put some soil on first then carefully rolled out the turf on top of the wall, I then cut the unwanted piece off and it looked great ,we had some more photos taken , then it was time for them to rejoin their class.
Using an old wire hanging basket, which I had filled with bark and soil, I then pegged this to the ground, by cobby and put the left over piece of turf on top secured it with sticks, for the finishing touch put on some eyes and a nose, and we now have a grass haggis on the learning garden, just to make the children smile, and teachers too!

 

Tuesday 6th May

Ladybird class

 

What was in store for the volunteer gardeners today! When I entered Mrs Marshall’s class, the children were all sat at the front learning about batteries, it was very interesting, so I thought that I might not have many garden volunteers today.
I was pleased to see a lot of children with their hands up when Mrs Marshall asked if anyone would like to come out, so four children were chosen.
Wellies and gloves on, the group collected some pots of plants which were growing in the eco house, these were now ready to transplant out into the garden.
This year we have flowers for cutting and insect attracting plants plot, which we hope to fill with all manner of flowers, some grown from, seed, bulbs, cuttings and some we will sow directly into the ground.
The children put canes down to guide them where to plant, holes were dug quite deep for the first plant we  were putting in, which were lilies, they were already 10cm tall, these were put in carefully and firmed in.
Next the group planted out dahlias which we had over wintered from last year, even bigger holes were dug for these, the plants were covered with soil and a cut down water bottle was used for a mini cloche.
This group just had time to put in one final set of plants which were “gladioli” these had been planted into pots by butterfly class back in February, so it was now time to plant them into the garden. The children did this very well and we are hoping for some large blooms later in the summer, Brilliant planting skills from this group.
Out came group two five children this time were chosen, their task was completely different in the garden.
We were kindly sent some growing kits by Waitrose, three boxes of goodies had arrived at the school, a friend from Stalbridge garden club had organised this for me.
When we opened up the boxes there were labels, charts, stickers, certificates, seeds, compost and lots and lots of different sized pots, we were all amazed.
The children said “Mrs Howell we have to get sowing quickly before it is time for home”.
So the timer was set, the potting trays were loaded with all manner of pots, compost put into trugs, and seed packets shared out.
We discussed what seed was best for which pot, and the children carefully opened the packets and placed the seed into the pots.
The seeds were then covered with the remainder of the compost and we then labelled all of the pots, I took lots of photos so that we can show Waitrose our progress with all the items which they supplied.
Time for home again, we achieved such a lot again today out in the learning garden a, fantastic effort.

This week it was Hedgehogs chance to spend the end of the school day feeding the birds, a few volunteers gave up their golden time for this. We filled all of the feeders in the garden with peanuts, wild bird mix, and niger seed for the finches and fat balls for our nesting bluetit.
We also just had time to put some more compost under the turf on the stone wall, finally we put some violas into a pot and brought out some of the plants from the ecohouse, more dojos awarded again today.

 

Wednesday14th May

Butterfly Class

 

The weather was just beautiful today for garden club, so when I asked for some volunteers, plenty of hands went up.
Miss Legg chose the first four children to come out into the learning garden ,we managed to find wellies for the children there was a lot to sort through, then the children each put on a pair of gloves.
This group each had a rake to level the soil in their plot, when this was done; we put some canes on the area to use as a guide for sowing the seed.
Carrots and beetroot, the children were sowing today in their plot, so using the kneeling mats the group had small trowels to dig a shallow trench, next to the canes.
Each child had a packet of carrot seed , there were three different types, they carefully sowed the seed in the trench, then covered it with fine soil ,some of the children used the metal sieve for this, then we put a label at the end of each row.
The team then did the same with beetroot seed, only this time one packet was seed. The other was quite different, the seed was already sown onto paper tape, and the children just laid this into the trench. This was quite tricky though, but the children managed to keep it flat, then covering with soil, we labelled these rows also, well done children.
The next group of four to come out, when their gloves and wellies were on, had the task of planting some more flowers in the cutting border.
Children carefully planted out the last of the gladioli, and then we took the seed trays from the ecohouse, which the children had sown five weeks ago, these were also ready to plant out.
The group put in angel wings, stocks and cosmos, then filling the watering cans; they gave the plants a good drink, and labelled them.
Finally it was the last group of the days turn, we went into the lodge to look at the plants we had on the table in there, to see if anything could be planted out.
Peas were ready, so the group took their kneeling mats to the small wigwam we had put up, and the children were then ready to plant out the three varieties of pea, using the little trowels, they dug deep holes to pop the plug plants into, and then watered the plants well.
Having just ten minutes left, the group then took out the geraniums from the ecohouse, and we put some into hanging baskets, and the rest around the school, these should give us some nice summer colour, well done butterfly class, fantastic work in the garden today, especially as it was quite hot! And dojos were awarded again today.

 

Friday

Hedgehog class were just starting their golden time, so I asked for two volunteers to come into the garden to, help me harvest the rhubarb.
Alex F and Carenza gave up their time to do this.  I gave the girls an old blunt rounded knife, and they were able to cut the rhubarb, we were amazed how much we had, in the fruit area, when the leaves were also removed it was time to tie these into bunches.
They tied the rhubarb into bunches of six stems, and put it into a basket. Whilst doing this in the lodge, Mr Howell was removing some of the blanket weed from the pond, and Mrs Carswell came out with her class to have a look in the pond.
Anyway now it was time to go home, and also sell some of our rhubarb, we sold a few bunches, and I sold the rest at the village hall, on Saturday.
The girls also got a dojo each.

We raised just enough money to buy two grow bags for us to plant, our tomato plants in.

 

Monday 19th May

Dragonfly Class

The weather being fantastic for the last week of term, warm and sunny with a gentle breeze, we have been so lucky this term for garden club.
Ms Palmer found the first group of volunteers for me; the children just needed wellies today, as we were going to scatter some flower seed.
The team first got the garden rakes , to remove the weeds from the flower plot, this was quite hard work, but the bed was now ready for sowing the seed.
Each child then took a school skipping rope, which they found a bit odd, and said are we going to skip around the garden, I explained that we were going to mark out our seed sowing areas with them.
The children each chose a different colour rope, then made shapes to sow the seed in.
Seeds were put into plastic cups, so the children could see the different shapes, each child then scattered the flower seed into the rope shape and we then labelled each patch.
Using the garden sieve the team then sprinkled some fine compost over the top of the seed; the children did this task very, very well.
All sorts of flower seed were sown cornflower. Nigella, cosmos, Rudbeckia, angel wings, poppies and lots more, we are looking forward to them all coming up hopefully.
Gosh what were group number two going to do, their task was dragonflies veg plot.
Wellies and gloves on the group raked over the plot ready for sowing, then using their trowels and a bit of help from me, with the hoe, we dug two lines of shallow trenches in which to sow the seed.
Radish were the first seed to sow, two types golden ball and red breakfast, the children said that they would not want radish for breakfast though!, these were sown in the drills and labelled, then carefully covered with soil.
In the second drill/trench the children had to sow four types of lettuce, these were all loose seed except little gem which were already implanted into paper tape, Ryan, found this amazing, again all the seed was labelled and covered, the varieties sown were French, frilly two colour and rocket, good gardening team.
The last group just had twenty minutes, so we went into the learning lodge to plant up a plastic container.
The children put the daisy plants which had been growing for several weeks into the trough , which they had filled with compost, then scattered some more flower seed in for good measure, we then put the trough into the pond area to give some summer colour.
Now it was just time to put our tomato plants we had grown, into the ecohouse, so the children collected the tomatoes from the table in the lodge, and carried the plants to the ecohouse, where I had filled some large flower pots with compost.
Each child then carefully eased the plants from their little pots, and using a trowel put the plant into the large pot next to a cane, and we then tied the tomatoes to their cane, hopefully we will have some juicy tomatoes this summer.
As this was the last garden club of the term, we managed to do such a lot in the learning garden today, lots of dojos awarded, and now it looks like rain , this will help our plants too..