This was a new site and a new task for us. We had been recruited to help lay a hedge on Sunningwell Green. Seventeen Green Gymmers attended, eager to help with this new task despite the cold, damp weather. Bob Evans, who was in charge of the project, told us that the Green had been saved from development some years ago in a case which had gone right up to the House of Lords. It slopes upwards and is partially divided by a hedge. Our task was to plant a new section of hedge and to make a gap in the brambles further up the slope so walkers can go through from one side to the other.
First we had to clear vegetation from the shallow ditch where the hedge was to be planted. Then there was barbed wire to remove and old fence posts to be knocked out. The various species of hedging plants were laid out in rows where they were to be planted along two lines of string to make sure the hedge was straight - malus sylvestris (wild crab), crategus (hawthorn), prunus spinosa (blackthorn) to name but a few. We were ready to start planting.
We had planted a few, with plastic guards and supported by canes, when it was time to go for our tea break in the unaccustomed luxury of Bob's kitchen, where his wife Kati had provided not only tea, coffee and biscuits but sausage rolls and cocktail sausages as well.
Rather reluctant to leave the warm kitchen, we went back out to continue the planting. Looking at all the remaining plants, our task looked rather daunting and we wondered if we could possibly get finished in time, but everybody worked hard and by half past twelve the hedge was finished. I'm sure we will be going back at some future date to see how it is growing.
|Cutting back brambles|
|Clearing the ditch|
|Planting a tree|
|Kitchen tea break|
|Planting the hedge|
|The finished hedge|