Thursday, 20 February 2014

Penge Green Gym Newsletter: Late February 2014

Improving weather?
"It was a hard rain, a perpetual rain, a sweating and steaming rain; it was a mizzle, a downpour, a fountain, a whipping in the eyes, an undertow at the ankles; it was a rain to drown all rains and the memory of rains" ~ Ray Bradbury, ‘The Long Rain’.

That pretty much describes January and February in Winsford Gardens. The Meteorological Office announced today that officially the UK has had the wettest winter since records began.

Ian isn’t praying for the rain to stop. He is pulling out the dense Ivy ground cover from the beds and it was back-breaking work on a cold wet Wednesday. However, last Wednesday the sun finally appeared again, even if it wasn’t a ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ day. That meant that it was dry enough for us to finally complete those new benches near the Garden Road entrance as well as really tackling some of the weeds and the soil quality in the flower beds.
Spring is coming!
It is amazing how the gardens have been transformed in just a single week with blossom 'out' in the trees, as well as daffodils, crocuses and primroses. At last there is some colour in the gardens once again.
 In the coming weeks we still want to add some picnic tables to the other seating area and in the urban orchard.  Other tasks will be designed to keep us active and warm during the colder months and also improve the general surroundings of the park. These may include the construction of a bog garden and a composting toilet but both are subject to funding.

Some of our local feral ‘Wild’ life have damaged our willow dome yet again. This time the damage is so bad that we will need to cut some new willow to make the necessary repairs so this will be an ongoing project. Once Keith has qualified to drive the LB Bromley van this will make it easier for us to collect gardening materials such as willow.

Our other activities will include the construction of another raised bed within the propagation area, some long overdue tool maintenance, and the creation of some small bird boxes and a large insect hotel which we will use in our activities for children during our Open Garden Squares Day on Saturday 14th June 2014.

  Preparations for our Open Day continue. More detailed information will be given nearer the time, but this year we hope to have some guest speakers and a seed/plant swap. Those are among other ideas we are still working on. We will need as many volunteers as possible on the day to man the stalls and activities.

Volunteering Impacts Conference
On 27th March TCV are holding a Volunteering Impacts Conference at Waterlow Park, Highgate. This conference aims to examine the impacts of volunteering on pro-environmental behaviours, community resilience; on volunteer’s health and wellbeing; and the wider social impacts of volunteering. The Penge Green Gym will be a case study at this conference and two of our volunteers and leaders, Brenda and Dave, will be speaking briefly.
Tickets are available from
Another event in the future, but to look out for: One of our volunteers, Dave, will be walking the Pennine Way in June-July and will be looking to raise some sponsorship towards the Penge Green Gym. More information will be coming soon.
Goodbye Len!
Next week we will say goodbye to one of our longest serving volunteers and leaders. Len was a key player in the formation of Penge Green Gym, and in guiding it to our independent community group status. He will be sadly missed by us. Thank you Len from all at PGG.

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