Saturday, 11 November 2017

Penge Green Gym Newsletter Late Autumn 2017

Penge Green Gym Newsletter


Dear Penge Green Gym Supporters

Exciting news about the Skipton grant
Penge in Bloom

We are excited to announce that Penge Green Gym has been picked by Skipton as one of the 164 community groups to secure a £500 grant.  Over 40,000 votes were cast.  We are very grateful to everyone that voted and we can now go ahead with plans for a new seat with a back.  This will be one of our winter projects.  Thank you all.

We are also very excited that we have won Penge in Blooms 'most environmentally friendly garden' award.  Brenda and Jane collected the certificate and prize of a lovely hand fork from Alexandra Nurseries in Penge. We would like to thank the ongoing support of the Penge Partners and hopefully we'll be back again next year!  

Autumn is upon us
With autumn now in full swing we are getting on with projects to tidy up the garden for the winter, making repairs to bed edging and creating new pathways in the growing area.  We are also preparing one of the wildflower meadows for rotivating by Ideverde so that we can start the process of turning it into a dry gravel garden.  Once the rotivation has taken place we will put a membrane down to supress the weeds and then a layer of gravel.  In the spring we will start to plant with drought tolerant plants and other pollinator friendly plants.  This project was funded by the Tesco bags of help scheme.  This also includes our new wildlife pond which is doing well in the growing area.

Also a big job this time of year is raking the leaves off the grass.  Last years leaf mulch has been spread over the flower beds and makes a great weed suppressant and protects the plants from the worst of the weather.

Whilst clearing the wildflower meadow we also found a toad (we think, please let us know if we are wrong!) hiding in the long grass.  We think it may have been a female as she was very round!  She has been relocated to the bog garden to hopefully see out the winter in peace.

Although we have had a couple of strong storms early in the season autumn continues to provide some lovely colours and textures.


Notice of General Meeting

A general meeting will be held on 13th December at Winsford Gardens at 12.30pm to get registered approval from volunteer members to ratify updates and review the PGG/Friends of Winsford Gardens Constitution.  

#GreenGym #Penge #WinsfordGardens #JoinInFeelGood

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Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Stag Hunting in Suburbia

Stag Hunting in Suburbia

If you mention rare and endangered species, then one might think of hunters and poachers in tropical climates. However, there are endangered species found much closer to home, some are even in our own gardens.

An Endangered Species?  …In MY garden?

An endangered species is a species which has been categorised as very likely to become extinct. So, it comes as a surprise when you find them in your own garden! However, when determining the conservation status of a species many factors are involved, not only the number remaining, but the overall increase and decrease over time, breeding rates, loss of habitat through climate change and urbanisation, and other known threats.

Stag Beetles (Lucanus cervus) are the largest terrestrial beetles in the UK (Only the Great Silver Water Beetle is larger.) Once common throughout Europe and southern Britain they have become extinct in some countries and are globally-endangered. Despite a steep decline in numbers throughout Europe, recent sightings of Stag Beetles, such as from the GiGL map for 2017, show that south-east and south-west London are particular hot spots. In south and south-east London the pattern is consistent with the extent of the old Great North Wood or Norwood, which once stretched from Selhurst to Deptford, covering the Sydenham Ridge and the tributaries of the Rivers Effra and Ravensbourne in an oak forest. Indeed, the first recorded sighting of a Stag Beetle was apparently made somewhere near Anerley around 1899.

Three London sites are European Special Areas for Conservation for Stag Beetles. These are Epping Forest, Richmond Park, and Wimbledon and Putney Commons. In south London, the @greatnorthwood project will set hundreds of volunteers to work to help make south London's woodlands more Stag Beetle friendly.

At the Penge Green Gym in Anerley, we frequently see Stag Beetles while gardening either in our own home gardens, or while volunteering in Winsford Gardens, Penge. From June to August, is the best time of the year to see the adult beetles, on sultry summer evenings. The male beetles can fly very clumsily, making a faint clattering whirr. They are between 5cm and 8cm long, and the males have very large, antler-shaped jaws. The females lack the antlers and have smaller jaws.
Gardeners may accidently disturb the larvae (grubs) when clearing up or moving dead wood around the garden. Stag beetles spend most of their lives as larvae inside dead wood such as tree stumps and cut logs. It takes them between 4 and 7 years to grow into an adult. They have an important role to play in eating and breaking down dead wood.

The Decline in Numbers

The decline in numbers has been partly attributed to tidy gardens, parks and greenspaces, so we can help these creatures by leaving dead wood in situ for them and by not removing tree stumps, so that the larvae have somewhere to grow. You can also build loggeries such as those in Winsford Gardens, where tree trunks and branches are dug vertically into the ground and allowed to rot.

Stag beetles may also be deliberately killed in the mistaken belief they are pests, and road traffic, gardener’s feet, pet cats and other predators also lead to accidental losses.

There is plenty you can do to help them in your garden, so please think about leaving your garden a little more untidy and leaving that pile of logs in the corner.

David Fergusson @GreenGymPenge