Sunday, 29 May 2011

Bank Holiday Gardening

Brockley Common Community Garden co-ordinator, Caroline has been in touch to tell us about the planned session on Bank Holiday Monday. She writes:

Hi All

You may be heading to the coast for bank holiday, but in case you have a spare morning, we are down at the Transition Brockley plot to finish planting, do some weeding/clearing, and hopefully some picking!  

The plot is looking good and we already have Batavia lettuce, Salad leaves and spring onions for people to pick if you are at the plot with suitable tools ! Peas will also be available soon.

We hope to see you down there on Monday 30th May from 10 - 12pm

Please bring your own tools, including hoes, any final things you want to plant, and we also need some sticks to label plants 

Thanks to all those who have been watering. The ground is still very dry so do please pop along and water the plot if you have the time. We are sorting out storage of a nearby hose but for now we are relying on bringing our own watering cans / water bottles 

Going forward we will be arranging for a weekly weed / water / picking rota, to maintain the garden come rain or shine ! Let me know if you would like to be one of the team.

Alex will finalise the map after the 30th so we can put up a sign showing people what's growing where. We hope to stick pins on the map where things are ready to pick!

See you on the 30th !

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Local gardening events coming up...

Those of you with green fingers who fancy a spot of gardening outside of the confines of your own home will be pleased to know that are 2 events coming up where you can get your fingernails dirty. The first event is this weekend at Brockley Common and BXAG chair Rupert has been in touch, he writes:

Dear BXAG members and volunteers,
Well the weather has been very kind to us humans, especially with the passing of two gloriously sunny bank holiday weekends, but alas this weather is no good at all for our beloved plants! The main planting down at Brockley Common is looking rather wonderful at the moment but the ground is very dry and we need to do a thorough watering, along with some weeding. The new meadow is also looking rather sad. But just add water - and a change of weather please - and who knows what might happen!?
I therefore propose we meet up at 1.00 this coming SUNDAY 15th MAY to carry out another afternoon of community gardening and general horticultural TLC. We will be on site from 1.00-5.00.
As before just bring stout footwear. BXAG will provide tools, gloves and refreshments.
Hope to see you on Sunday!

Meanwhile Ruth who set up the community garden at St. Saviours Church has this to say:
St.Saviour's permaculture gardening session & plant sale - Saturday 21st May 
Please drop by from 10-11:30am for light gardening, maybe harvesting and if you have a plant or two to sell then please bring along!
Leyla will be selling a few home grown offerings too (tomatoes, cucumber, melons, sugar snap peas) with a portion of the proceeds to Christian Aid...
Hope to see you there!  
Gloves and tea provided!

Open Garden - Sunday 22nd May 1-5pm

A quick plug for friend of Transition Brockley and regular Lewisham green drinks participant, Jon, who is hosting an open garden in aid of a good cause with the promise of many delights both floral and sugary. Jon writes:

Scrumptious home made cakes, fair trade tea and coffee all for a small donation of £1 in aid of the Able Child Africa Charity

Jon also has this disclaimer for any potential visitors:

Please take care! narrow side alley, uneven paths, steps,overhanging branches, high calorie cakes!

The address of the event is: 9 Brockley View SE23 1SN - white house on hill, entrance via side alley

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Mini Meadow in Hilly Fields

Saturday saw the planting of small test area of wildflower seeds at the site of the orchard in Hilly Fields. We have planted this area as a tester to see how this area of the park takes to wildflowers. If it is successful then there are plans to plant a much larger area of wildflowers which will become part of Lewisham's 'River of Flowers' which we talked about here.

Fran, who co-ordinated yesterday's event had this to say to the volunteers who helped out:

huge thank you to all who worked so hard today - it was really tough going but you managed it and I attach some photos (see above and on Flickr) of the digging, seeding and enjoyment of the job completed!  Just as well it was only a small area...let's hope we have a good display.  

If the weeds encroaching are a problem I'll either mulch round the plot or pin down some membrane.  Any help with watering and picking out the odd weed would be great.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Permaculture Kids Club @ Mayow Park

Ruth has been in touch to tell us about the Permaculture Kids Club that she helps to run in Mayow Park. She writes:

Bored of being indoors on a Sunday morning? Come and learn about your world, grow things, make stuff without waste and have fun at Permaculture Kids Club.
Hosted by Ruth, Matthew and Suriya at Grow Mayow Community Garden, Mayow Park, behind the pavillion.
For kids aged 8 to 12 - only £2 each (to cover cost of materials).
Parents welcome to stay and relax in the gardens , drink tea and buy plants.
Booking for workshops essential, maximum number 15 children.
Fourth Sunday of the month (except June 19th) from 10.30 to 12pm.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Monday, 2 May 2011

River of Flowers

We've briefly mentioned the River of Flowers project before as something we have been discussing at our meetings so here's a bit more information about it and what we're doing locally:

The 'river' in River of Flowers is an evocative way of describing the planting of urban meadows in 'pollination streams' or 'green corridors' in order to help our pollinators, bees, butterflies and hoverflies, find forage in the city. It describes the flight path of the pollinators as much as it does the flow of wildflowers. Having started in north London, River of Flowers is expanding rapidly through London. It has contacts in east London via its connections with the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park and The Golden Company, with west London via the Kensington& Chelsea Meanwhile Wildlife Garden and Living Medicine and with south London via the Walworth Community Farm and Roots and Shoots.

Our transition group is mapping the current wildlife areas in the borough and we have signed up to join the London branch of the River of Flowers. This is part of a nationwide campaign supported by The Co-operative who state that "the UK has lost an alarming 97 per cent of its wildflower meadows since the 1930s and this has had a major impact on pollinator numbers. The number of honeybees in the UK has halved in the last 25 years, and three quarters of butterfly species and two thirds of moths have seen population declines since the 1970s".   Unless this habitat is reinstated there could be disastrous consequences on our production of food.

Here in Brockley we're running a sample wildflower meadow at the orchard site on Hilly Fields which we're planning to plant later in May (more details below) - something which, if successful will be of benefit to both the orchard and the parks diversity. There is also the recently planted wildflower meadow adjacent to the community garden at Brockley Station. These projects will be included in a mapping of Lewisham's wildflower sites which we are undertaking which will be added to the London wildflower map and is effectively a new 'stream' to the 'river'.

Meadow Flower Pilot
Would you like to join us to plant a very small area of the orchard site with wildflowers?  

This is the background
...Our Transition Group, Friends of Hilly Fields and a couple of orchard 'carers' have been discussing how we can help to increase the planting of wildflower meadows in order to provide more habitat for pollinating insects, and thought a good way to start would be to pilot a small area at the orchard site. 

This is the plan.

1.  Time and venue:  Sat 7 May 2.00 to 3.00 at Orchard Site on Hilly Fields.

2.  Remove turf from an area approx 6' x 5' (site agreed with Glendale).  Rake ground and scatter meadow flower seed.  Cover with chicken wire (pegged down well) to avoid disturbance from foxes and dogs (and to be taken up once plants start to grow through and cover the ground).

3.  'Plant' small sign to tell people what's growing.

4.  Water plot at regular intervals as needed.

5.  In the autumn, cut the flowers to let seeds set and after 4- 5 days rake up the cuttings to compost elsewhere (meadow flowers thrive on poor soil).

All hands will be welcome!  Bring gloves and (if you have one) a spade.  Can you join us?

Brockley Common - Update

Following Friday's successful festivities chief co-ordinator, Caroline has this to say about the next action for the garden:
Thank you for the fabulous turn out for Royal Weeding Day ! A great effort all round, & the garden is looking much livelier, & full of promise ! Special thanks to Rupert and Fran for getting / bringing the lavender, and for people who bought seedlings and essentials such as the hose!

Our next date is Monday 30th May 2011, 10am - 12pm ( Bank Holiday ) 

We have a few gaps left to fill, plus there will be general tidying up / possible thinning / redistributing some plants, as well as planting a few more.

So far we have a rich mix of ( in no particular order ); spring onions, butternut squash, courgettes, sweet peas, marigolds, cornflowers, lavender, crocosmia, calendula, runner beans, decorative peas champion of england, camomile, rainbow chard, turnips, gem lettuces, globe artichokes, potatoes,provencale mixed salad leaves, perpetual spinach, strawberries, parsley, mind, climbing french beans, and sunflowers!!

Please come along on the 30th with gardening tools, watering cans, seedlings, and we could also do with some more sticks for labelling

Thanks again, and maybe see you on the 30th!

And most importantly, if you are passing the plot and are able to water it, ( and the meadow directly down the bank from the plot ) this would be much appreciated. For now we are relying on the local cafes for water ( bring your own watering can / bottle ! ) , or local people carrying the odd bottle of water down , as we are having a pretty dry spring so far !