Sunday, 30 January 2011

Some sad news from our sponsor

One of the unsung heroes of 2010's wildflower explosion was our sponsor, EFG (the company across the road from the meadow). Despite 2010 being a hard year for almost every UK business, Michale Spinks at EFG kindly donated the budget we needed to get the meadow going.

But sadly, although EFG would have liked to sponsor the meadow again this year, they've had to pull out. So I'd like to bid a fond farewell to them, and say a big THANK YOU to Michael Spinks and the folks at EFG. We couldn't have done it without you!

There's good news too though - the bulbs we planted last autumn are all naturalising species. So they should start multiplying on their own, without us having to buy more. And many of the annual plants will have self-seeded already. So we won't need quite as much seed as before.

That all means that right now, not having a sponsor isn't really a problem. But to keep doing good stuff, we'll need some ongoing support in the future. So if you know any other local businesses with an philanthropic itch to scratch, send them our way!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Mabley Meadow Spring Guide

Thanks to the mammoth effort of our bulb planters in Autumn, it shouldn't be too long before we start seeing some spring shoots. So here's what to look out for, and when:

Flowers: February - March

There are loads of different types of Crocuses, they grow quite low to the ground so you might not spot them until the flower. The ones we planted will bloom in early spring - so they'll be the perfect meal for hungry bees waking up after winter.

Daffodil (Narcissus)
Flowers: March-May

When the crocuses finish flowers, it'll be time for the daffodils to take over. We planted a few different varieties in the meadow - so who knows what will come up. There'll be plenty growing next to the path, and quite a few more deeper in the meadow too.

Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa)
Flowers: March-April

This plant loves cold weather, and when it grows on mountainsides, its bright green shoots peep straight out of the snow at the very start of spring. Which is where the name comes from. Then as the snow melts, it produces bright blue flowers to let you know winter is officially over.

Native Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)
Flowers: April-June

When the conditions are right, bluebells will gradually spread all over a forest floor - carpeting it in blue flowers. We only planted a few as a test, but if they like it in our meadow, one day, we might have our very own bluebell wood in Hackney!

Snakeshead Lily (Fritillaria Meleagris)
Flowers: May-June

These flowers look a bit like a lantern covered in pink and purple checkers. They don't grow very tall though, so you might have to look hard among the grass to see one.

Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum)
Flowers: May-June

The leaves of this plant look a bit like grass. But it blooms, it's spectacular - growing a long cluster of white, star-shaped flowers.

If you see any of our new bulbs in bloom, take a pic and send it to so we can put it on the blog and share it with everyone!