Thursday, 18 October 2012

Gardening club - week six

Our final gardening club for the year was extra special - because it wasn't about gardening at all! Instead, artist Penny Sadubin came along to teach everyone how to make crafts and jewellery using natural materials growing in and around the meadow.  It was a great session - and the perfect end to a fantastic year full of free activities!

Using a handy coat-hanger, Penny pushed out the soft middle-part of a stem of Elder to make beads.
The finished article, complete with conker and a fresh sprig of leaves.
Even the trees got a bit of jewellery! We left these ones here as a lasting (but biodegradeable) reminder of all the great stuff we've done on the meadow this year.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Gardening club - week five

We had a great turn out at our last session - so we did loads of planting, watering, mulching, raking and seed-sowing! With autumn setting in, we did it just in time too - because now the plants will be able to settle into their new home before it gets properly cold. And that means we'll have a spectacular spring next year!

There's only one more gardening club session left this year - making jewellery and crafts using woodland materials with artist Penny Sadubin. So come along on Wednesday 17 October, 4pm-6pm and get crafty!
The highlight of the day was planting our new Family Apple Tree, which has three different apple varieties, all grafted onto one tree! The three types will flower at the same time, to make it easy for our local bees to cross-pollinate them, and make sure they produce plenty of fruit. The varieties are: Cox's Orange Pippin, Bramley and James Grieve.

Preparing the ground for the Family Apple Tree.
Digging for victory (well, apples)!

We also planted some mint and lemon verbena under the trees - which smell amazing!
Another verbena planted. Nice work!
Clearing the ground before seed-sowing.
A well-earned rest.
Hooray for Mabley Meadow's new gardeners!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Gardening club - week four

What a brilliant gardening club session! This week we planted a Cherry Plum tree (laden with delicious cherries) and a Concorde Pear (which is a fantastic variety). And both of them came from the Hackney Tree Nursery just up the road from the meadow. Their trees are of incredible quality, so if you ever need one for your garden, drop in to see them!

We also planted clumps of crocuses and drumstick alliums, and found some interesting creepie crawlies under the autumn leaves.

Next week, we'll be planting a crab apple tree and sowing seeds, so join us on the meadow on Wednesday 10, from 4pm-6pm!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Gardening club - week three

The gardening club is go, go, go! This week we planted not one but TWO fruit bushes - a redcurrant and a blackcurrant - with Woodruff all around them. Then it was bulb time- 150 crocuses were planted safely under the turf (look out for them in early spring), and wild garlic near the small bench. Yum!

Next time we'll be sowing wildflower seeds and planting more bulbs. So come to the meadow on Wednesday 3 October from 4pm-6pm and get stuck in!
Planting our new fruit bushes.
Adding mulch to keep the new plants happy.

The Mabley Meadow Orchard!
Tackling the giant thistles. Go Damian!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Gardening club - week two

Our second gardening club session was fantastic - with everyone getting stuck in planting wild herbs AND our very own apple tree - so get set for super-fresh, free apples next autumn!
Digging a hole for our new apple tree
Adding bonemeal to the hole to keep the new tree happy and healthy.
The apple tree in its new home.
We also planted marjoram, chocolate mint and garden mint, and put mulch and woodchips around the plants to protect them.  Then it was watering time!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Make the most of the sunshine - free gardening club this afternoon!

Our next gardening club session is happening this afternoon (Wednesday 19th) - and we couldn't have asked for better weather!

So if you want to enjoy the sunshine, and learn some new gardening skills, come to the meadow from 4pm-6pm.

The gardening club is completely free, all tools will be provided, and there'll be free drinks and snacks too.

You'll find the meadow here - on Lee Conservancy Road, just opposite Essex Flour and Grain, on the south side of the A12 Flyover.

And if you can't make it this afternoon, the gardening club will happen every Wednesday afternoon until mid-October. So see you then!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Our FREE gardening club is back!

We left the meadow to do its thing over summer. But with autumn on the way, Mabley Meadow's free gardening club is back - and better than ever!

So if you want to learn some new skills, try your hand at gardening or just hang out and eat the free snacks provided, come and join in.

What: Mabley Meadow's FREE gardening club
When: Wednesdays, 4pm-6pm
Where: Mabley Meadow, E9 - just by the A12 flyover, between the main Mabley Green park and Eastway.
Anything else?: FREE drinks and snacks will be provided.
The sessions will be lead by local gardening expert Helen Wilson, and Homerton artist Penny Sadubin. Here's what'll we'll be getting up to:

Wednesday 12 September, 4pm-6pm
Planting wild herbs and learning about gardening for wildlife.

Wednesday 19 September, 4pm-6pm
Sowing wildflower seeds and learning gardening basics.

Wednesday 26 September, 4pm-6pm
Planting fruit bushes, so we can all enjoy fresh fruit next autumn. Yum!
 Wednesday 3 October, 4pm-6pm
Planting native bluebells to help save this rare species from extinction (and create Hackney's first bluebell wood!)

Wednesday 10 October, 4pm-6pm 
Planting fruit trees to make our very own community orchard.

Wednesday 17 October, 4pm-6pm 
Making jewellery and handicrafts from natural materials growing in Hackney with local artist Penny Sadubin.

The gardening club has been made possible by the London Legacy Development Corporation. So a big thanks to them!

Any questions? Just leave a comment below, or send an email to

See you on the meadow!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Get ready for the new gardening club!

We left the meadow to do its thing over summer, but now that autumn is on its way, our free gardening club is starting up again.

The club will be completely free (thanks to the the London Legacy Development Corporation), and it'll run every Wednesday from 4pm-6pm, with the first session on September 12 and the last one on October 17.

More details will be posted soon, so stay tuned!

Friday, 15 June 2012

June flowers (and bugs)

One of the main reasons for making the meadow was to create a haven for animals and insects (especially the rare ones). And after a couple of years of planting and caring for the space, we've got more wildlife than ever before! Here's some of what you might find if you keep your eyes peeled.

A Rose Chafer beetle eating pollen on a Camissia flower. These beetles are said to be in decline in the UK, so we're really lucky they've picked the meadow for their new home.
Summer flowers blooming! We've not had buttercups on the meadow in a while, so it's great that they're making a comeback.
Bumblebee on a Camissia flower. With the wet and cold weather, our native bees have been having a hard time this year - except in the meadow where they've been busy eating nectar since April!
This might be a Mint Moth (if you're an expert, feel free to  make a correction!). They like living in meadows, so it'd make sense that they'd be in abundance around Mabley. This year, there are a more butterflies on the meadow than ever before, which is fantastic news.
Ox-eye Daisies blooming by the road. A nice sight for drivers, and the perfect landing pad for butterflies too.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Willow weaving on the meadow

We had an extra-special gardening club on Saturday with artists Penny Sadubin and Elsa Godfrey teaching us how to weave with willow. As it turns out, we had some natural-born weavers who created some incredible willow sculptures for the meadow. The creations are still there if you want to take a look!

The gardening club will be taking a break over the summer, but will be back and better than ever in autumn, so stay tuned...
If you need some willow woven, ask these two. They'd never woven before but their creation was AMAZING!
A willow butterfly with wildflower decorations.
A wavey willow screen in progress.
The finishing touches.
Willow weavers are go!
Penny Sadubin (our resident willow expert) adds some extra support to a willow fence.
Our pals from Friends of Homerton Station dropped by for lunch!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Free willow weaving workshop with Penny Sadubin - Saturday 9 June

After the Jubilee break, the gardening club is back for an extra-special session: willow weaving with amazing local artists Penny Sadubin and Elsa Godfrey.

Penny and Elsa are expert at working with natural materials, so come to the meadow on Saturday 9 June from 12pm-2pm when they'll be teaching us how to make a design on paper, then weave it in freshly-cut willow. After that, we'll all make a large willow sculpture to leave in the meadow so everyone can enjoy it.

The workshop will be loads of fun for kids, and great for anyone keen to learn a new skill and get creative - so everyone's welcome. All materials will be provided and there'll be free drinks and snacks too. See you then!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Sunshine + spring = a great gardening club session!

Saturday's gardening club was a really good day out! Our expert Helen Wilson was on hand teaching everyone how to plant stuff that will make the meadow more beautiful - and that bees, birds and butterflies will love. And there were free snacks and drinks too!

With the Queen's Jubilee coming up, the club will be taking a break this weekend. But we'll be more than making up for it on Saturday June 9 when artist Penny Sadubin will be teaching us how to weave with willow - and we'll make a giant willow structure together on the meadow.