Thursday, 6 March 2014

Penge Green Gym Newsletter: Early March 2014

Hello again, Green Gym Supporters

I wandered lonely as a cloud,
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

‘Daffodils’ by William Wordsworth

Spring is finally here

The improved weather during the last two weeks has meant that we have been able to achieve much more. And the Daffodils, Crocuses, Primroses, and now the Hazel and Willow tree blossoms continue to impress. The lawns remain waterlogged, so we are trying to avoid walking on them as much as possible.

In the greenhouse cuttings are being hardened off in the cold frames and seeds are being planted. In the growing area a new raised bed has been measured up and the turf dug. The insect chalets have been covered in chick wire to prevent the contents falling out. Another dead hedge has been started off at the Garden Road entrance and we have been sorting through wood donated by the new owner of Winsford House.

He also donated a Gunnera Manicata (Giant Rhubarb Plant.)  We have planted this in one of the small ponds as it likes plenty of water. It grows to a height of 2.5 metres with a spread of 3 to 4 metres so everyone is watching it with interest. This is how it might look:

In the coming weeks we will continue with all these tasks, and also reseed the meadows with wild flowers as well as beginning work in the pond area. We will also build one more seat when the lawn dries out sufficiently to allow the work.

The Bad News

We heard that we were unsuccessful in our funding bid for our Bog Garden from GrowwildUK. Undeterred we will develop it in the pond area anyway using existing funds and are still looking into other funding. We only need a damaged Butyl liner for the pond as we would have poked holes through a new one in any case. We can buy, swap and take free cuttings of plants and get given donations such as the Gunnera.

The other bad news is that the living willow structures have been damaged even further to the point at which they are now totally ruined. Willow is remarkably resilient and pieces can go through a shredder and still grow, but the structures cannot survive this kind of daily punishment. People wouldn’t torture an animal in this way. Why do that to our living trees and saplings?

So, unfortunately we have been forced to cut down the willow dome that gained us such accolades and compliments; was painted by artists and sought after to feature by magazine editors. We are still looking into finding some living willow to re-build it, but an alternative might be to make one of our woven willow withy fences instead.

Large TCV Volunteering Impacts Event

You will be aware from our last newsletter that on Thursday, 27th of March, TCV are hosting a conference and publishing a report on Volunteering Impacts at the Waterlow Park Centre (Dartmouth Park Hill, London, N19 5JF) at which Brenda and Dave will be speaking.
At the same time there will be a large volunteering event in Waterlow Park itself from 10:45am to 2pm pulling together all London Green Gyms. Everyone is invited to join in. This will be a great opportunity to meet volunteers from other Green Gyms around London, exchange ideas and share your experiences. There will also be a range of activities to join in around the park. TCV will be providing a full lunch (not just a banana) and your travel expenses will be reimbursed if you retain your travel receipts.

Lizzy Kaimakamis c/o Bromley Green Gym would like to know the approximate numbers going, so let her know if you intend to go. The closest underground station is Archway. Those of you who also attend Bromley Green Gym are meeting and catching the train together from Bromley. Anyone living in Penge might want to meet at Anerley and catch the train to London Bridge and then it is a simple trip on the Northern line. Alternatively, take the Overground to Highbury and Islington and a bus up to Highgate.

We hope to see you all next week and the weather forecast remains good.

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