Thursday, 29 October 2009

How the weather confuses us all…..

Bitingly cold wind a week or so ago was soon replaced by the most gloriously clear and sunny weather, giving warm and balmy days. Finally, the perfect autumn.

Unless you are a daffodil bulb that is.  You see, the cold snap tricked the bulbs into thinking it was already winter (actually, I have to admit to being tricked too!)  And then when (thankfully) it got all warm and lovely again, those poor confused daffs thought that winter (blessedly brief) was over and spring had come.

And we know what bulbs do in springtime, don’t we.  They send down wiggly roots…..


and push out new green shoots.  Like these.


Well, that won’t do, will it?  What will those tender green shoots do when the real winter…..


hits us?

So we carefully replanted them, using good healthy soil…..


in sturdy orange boxes…..


and secreted them away to a cool, dark, wintery place (the store room beneath the school) where hopefully they will stay safe until spring really comes.


Thursday, 15 October 2009

Bulbs and boots – and a surprise in store

Whatever do you do with Wellington boots once you have outgrown them?  Unless you have a younger sister or brother, that is.

We had earlier been given a rather puzzling note requesting that our worn-out and too-small ‘wellies’ and the like should be brought to school.  What for, we would find out in due course.

On Thursday, to be precise. When we went outside for our weekly session in the garden, we discovered a heap of apparently perfectly sound boots.  On closer inspection, however, they turned out to have had holes mysteriously drilled into the soles.


How very odd!  What’s more, there were also lots (and lots) of different spring bulbs in various packets and buckets.


Curiouser and curiouser.

It turned out that we would be planting the bulbs in the boots!  All that was needed was a scoop or two of the perfect mix of soil…..


and a bulb - or two, or three (the correct way up!)…..


tucked down inside.


A further sprinkling of soil on the top…..


patted firmly down.  Finally, carefully stand your bulb-stuffed ‘wellie’ in place on the garden…..


where they will wait, lined up on their long walk towards spring…..


and hopefully the surprise of a beautiful show of spring colour.

And what about those holes drilled in the bottoms?  We know what they are for.  Do you?

Friday, 2 October 2009


We gathered under the trees for this week’s session in the garden.  Found a bit of clean dirt on which to sit – and looked upwards.  Up towards the canopy of leaves.


What did we notice about the leaves?  That leaves which had been green during the long summer months, were beginning to change colour.

Looked down to where we were sitting.  What did we notice there?


Brown, crisp, dry, curled leaves.  Dead leaves, as Can noted.

What, we wondered, made those leaves turn brown and fall from the tree?  Well, take a green leaf and tug at it.


You can tug quite hard, but the tree doesn’t let it go.  But just watch for a moment; and you will see brown ones floating and twisting and curling down to the ground.


In the summer, the tree ‘sucks’ up moisture from the soil; it travels through the roots…..


up the trunk…..


and all the way along the branches to the leaves.  But as the weather gets colder, the tree needs to conserve its moisture so that it doesn’t die.  So it closes the little ‘trap-doors’ to the leaves, thus turning off the water supply and allowing them to shrivel up and fall off.

Now think back to what we learned last week about the ‘ingredients’ of soil.  Water, air, minerals and organic matter.  Organic matter, remember, is things that were once living.  Things like dead leaves…..

We want to use some of this organic matter to improve our soil.  We are going to have a go at composting.

Just like last week, we will work in ‘teams’…..


with each team responsible for raking up…..


and gathering the leaves…..


before putting them into buckets and carrying them…..


over to our ever-growing pile…..


and emptying them onto the top.


Next stop, rich dark well-rotted compost?