Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Daisy invasion

Now that our dandelions have finished up for the spring, it's the daisies' turn to take off. The last couple of weeks they've been making the most of the new, no-mowing rule and created a carpet of flowers across the sunny corners of the green.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Filling in some gaps

Our seedlings are doing a great job at greening up the bare ground near Lee Conservancy Road. But there were a couple of patches outside the fences that were still looking a bit barren. So armed with a fork and a couple of trays of tiny Nigella (aka Love in a Mist), we got to work filling in some of the gaps. We'll need to do a bit of thinning out later so they don't compete with each other too much. But they're still a bit small to fend properly for themselves yet, so we'll all have to do our best not to step on them.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Leabank Square joins in

Sรณna over at Lea Bank Square is a real local hero. He works tirelessly to make our neighbourhood a better place to live and while he's got fingers in many community-related pies, his most visible project is the amazing recycled garden over at Lea Bank Square. While he's generally a 'food plants only' kind of gardener, he's generously offered to raise some woodland flowers too. So we dropped off some of our B&Q spoils and they got started. Go Leabank Go!

Green shoots!

We've been having some pretty long dry spells this spring. Which isn't doing our seeds much good. But every time it does actually rain, they seem to suck it all up and leap into life. And after the downpour over the weekend, look what's happened!

St Dominic's B&Q booty

Francesca over at St Dominics RC Primary School in Homerton must be one of the most loved teachers ever. First, she's amazingly nice (in that way that only primary teachers can be). Second, as well as looking after her classes, she still finds time to run the school's gardening club. So this year, her Year 5s are going to be growing woodland plants for the meadow. Thanks the the B&Q grant and some seed funding from Essex Flour & Grain, we could give them everything they needed to get growing. And even managed to throw in some swanky hand forks for the big planting day in September too. Nice.

Engine gets growing

A couple of months ago, a most excellent communications group Engine heard about our Growing Scheme. They liked the idea so much, they wanted to set one up of their own. So that's just what we did.

Engine generously gave us some money for materials, so we bought seed compost from Camden Garden Centre (an amazing place, that's also a social enterprise) and picked up 150 biodegradable coir fibre pots from The Hairy Pot Company. Then we got started.

Now there are future seedlings lining the window ledges all over Engine HQ. Which means by September we should have 150 healthy woodland plants to add to the meadow.

Engine are pretty feisty bunch, so there's bound to be a bit of competitive growing going on when things start to sprout. More details as and when...

The Growing Scheme is go!

With B&Q's One Planet Living Grant in the bag, the Growing Scheme officially got the green light. The reason we've set it up is because while our annual plants are pretty happy to sprout from seed, perennial woodland plants need a little more help to get started. So the plan is to grow them in pots first, then when they're a bit bigger, transplant them into the more shady areas of the meadow.

With a couple of community groups already signed up to the scheme, the next job was to put together some seed packs and growing instructions to get them started. So here they are...

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Into the wild

In his book about urban ecology, James Hitchmough (one of the Dons of city meadows in the UK) has this to say about our beloved lawns:

"Any vegetation that is structurally more complex than mown grass represents a significant habitat gain in urban landscapes".

Which basically means, if you let it grow and go a bit wild, it suddenly becomes an amazing place for birds and bugs. And that's definitely been happening. Blackbirds laden with worms and other creepie crawlies have been on the Green daily (a new sight for us), and we've had cuckoos and thrush spotted too. Plus all kinds of beneficial plant species have emerged from the grass - bee and lacewing friendly cow parsley, soil enriching dandelions and comfrey, as well as bluebells and clumps of daffodils.

Anyway, enough words. Time for some nice pics of our amazing new green space!

(Acutally, one last thing, the book I mentioned earlier was co-edited by James Hitchmough and Nigel Dunnett, who's also amazing).

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

B&Q comes through!

It's been a long process, but this morning, an email arrived from the B&Q head office to say our One Planet Living Grant has been approved! So pretty soon, we'll have everything we need to get the Community Growing Scheme Started. More details to follow soon....