Friday, 17 December 2010

Wintery Close

Did you know that it has been one of the coldest starts to winter since records began?  Usually the worst of our winter weather is in January and February, so it came of a bit of a surprise, when in November, winter arrived early.

We have broken records here in Sheffield. 28th November saw record minumum temperatures of  -7.2 C in the centre of Sheffield. On 1st December, the depth of level snow was recorded as 38cm in the city centre. Shooter's Grove managed a little more, as we're higher up. We measured 46cm!  This is the deepest December snow since records began in 1882.

Thick snow and ice may have caused chaos in many parts of Britain, but the Beez have been as busy as ever in the garden.

There have been leaves to clear and bag up to make leaf mould. Beans and onions have been sown, and coming along nicely in the cold frame.

This photo really doesn't do justice to this stunning cotoneaster, heavily laden with it's crimson berries.

Evergreens take the centre stage now in the carpark bed. The papery flowerheads of the hydrangeas will stay on over winter to protect the emerging buds.

As this is being written, it is the calm before the storm. Tomorrow we are due significant snowfalls once more. But thankfully, we break up for the holidays today.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Autumn Colour

Summer can often seem a bit of a let down, but Autumn never disappoints us. It's always wet and windy, and this week has been no exception.
All good for the gardens.

More tidying up to be done and more planting.

The hanging baskets are filled with the jewels that are Winter Pansies.

And filling out the spaces in the Veg-e-tables.

Beneath these bedding plants lie the bulbs for Spring colour.

Among the pansies, the Busy Beez have planted some ornamental cabbages. These tolerate the winters extremely well, and often the colour intensifies as the the temperature drops.

And finally our crop of potatoes. The Y2 children will be using some of these for various experiments in the coming days.

Warmer weather is coming our way over the weekend. An 'Indian Summer' perhaps?  Maybe a final barbecue before packing it away - don't forget to collect your Morrisons 'Lets Grow' vouchers!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Looking to the Future

Autumn. A time to plant for the following seasons. The last of the Pumpkin plants removed, and it's time to get your hands dirty and bury Daffodils.

The Busy Beez have chosen various dwarf Narcissi, or miniature Daffodils. They don't look much right now, but in the coldest months, these little packages of sunshine will push their way through to bloom and cheer on the dullest of days.

In the centre of each of these containers the Beez planted a small Hebe. Over the coming months, and even years, these beautiful shrubs will attract bees and butterflies.

Elsewhere in the garden, and the blue Hydrangea is still flowering away...

and the rose hips are flushing up a lovely colour in the carpark bed.

The Cotoneaster is providing a fantastic display with it's crimson berries in the Junior bed.

While the last of the peppers and tomatoes ripen in the Veg-e-tables beyond

Looking to the future once more, the cheery clown-faces of these Pansies will soon be filling out the spaces before the Daffodils appear.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Harvest Time

And the Big Clean up begins.

Old foliage is being tidied away, and fallen leaves and compost swept up.

The huge 'courgette' is harvested, and some of the cherry tomatoes picked

There are still lots of tomatoes to be harvested, and once all the courgette foliage has been cleared away, the sunshine can help ripen them.

As it's a brand new year, we have a brand new team of Y2's in the Busy Beez Gardening Club. Over the Summer, the crops have been ripening, and at last the children have something to show for all the hard work put in.

Can I take a moment to mention that the 'Let's Grow' campaign has begun in Morrison's stores and we would greatly appreciate the vouchers. The children can either hand them into the teacher, or you can pop into the Parent's Room (the 'Hut' beside the Nursery), where our hardworking team of parent volunteers will collect them.

Thank you.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Week 23

Our lovely caretaker has been watering our crops, and they have really responded!

Our pumpkin patch isn't quite sure of what it wants to produce. Pumpkins were certainly planted, but what is cropping is anyone's guess!

The young tree has been cut down in the Junior Bed, making it a very different looking space.

In the Junior 'Veg-e-tables' we definitely planted courgettes, but if you're not quick enough at picking them, they very quickly grow into marrows!

And what about this whopper! If we don't manage to grow anything resembling a fat orange pumpkin for the Halloween Disco, maybe this fellow can be carved into a Hulk or Frankenstein!!

More French Beans and Runners were harvested. These ones found homes with 'Ann' and the ladies at Stannington Library.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Week 21

So much can happen so quickly as this time of the year. What appeared as something tiny last week, is now big enough to pick!

With plenty more to pick in the future. These are Courgette 'Black Beauty' from the BBC's Dig In campaign.

We shall have to cut some of the large leaves on the courgette plants back soon to allow what sun we do get to ripen the tomatoes growing behind. In the meantime, all the male flowers were removed.

Look at the size of some of these leaves!

French beans, from the same campaign are beginning to crop

We have also begun to harvest the runner beans

Healthy tomato doing it's thing

Looking suspiciously like a courgette, this is supposed to be a pumpkin. Time will tell

Pumpkin with end rot.

Male flowers were picked off, to leave a couple of swelling fruits per plant.

Less rain and a little more sunshine is needed now.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Week 20

It's eerily quiet in the Shooter's Grove gardens. School's out but there is still so much happening in the garden. Watering of course is a must, but since we've broken up blackflies have moved into one of the pumpkin patches. These were rubbed off between finger and thumb, not a pleasant task, but a necessary one to help keep the numbers down on the forming flowers, behind each a bulbous swelling is forming which will hopefully bring fruit large enough to carve for Hallowe'en.

We shall only allow two or three pumkins to form in each patch. This should allow the plants concentrate their energy into creating larger pumpkins.

The heady scent of these lillies fills the air. Perhaps in subsequent years, they will open before the school break for Summer to be fully appreciated.

The fuschia's are at full pelt, with clusters of tiny ballerina flowers dangling gracefully from each stem.

Our Beans are close to begin the harvest.

And the tomatoes are swelling nicely. There are peppers in this container too, showing off their small white flowers.

A small courgette is beginning to form behind this flower.

And finally, the Junior bed is taking on a fiery glow as the Crocosmia's begin to unfurl their molten orange petals.

Sunshine and showers. Perfect for the gardens, not so perfect for Summer Holidays!