Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Further photos from Southern Town Park last Saturday...

Eleanor and Sally have provided more photos from our session at Southern Town Park last Saturday, including some of the wildflower patch:














Sunday, August 27, 2017

Southern Town Park, 26th August 2017

There was a good turnout on Saturday for our first session at Southern Town Park for some months. 

One of the main aims was to clear the nettles and long grass away from the patch of wild flowers that we had sown earlier in the year.  This was achieved, with the plan being to go back and uproot the nettles completely next time and sow additional flowers.

Other jobs included trimming back brambles, and collecting bags of the rubbish that have accumulated here - often as a result of illicit drinking and impromptu fires.  Along with the smaller items, a burnt-out motorcycle was discovered, what with fly-tipping being quite a problem in the park. 

We did see a drop in the growth of brambles this summer.  Whether this was due to the weather conditions or our previous efforts to keep it down, it is not known.

The Green Gym's work here occasionally draws praise from dog-walkers and other passers-by which make our activities seem worthwhile.
-Kevin


The freshly-scythed wildflower patch.

The all-important tea break.

Some of the wild flowers that we had sown earlier in the year.


Monday, August 21, 2017

Abbey Meadows Wild Flower Maze, 19th August 2017

This Saturday, we were at the Wild Flower Maze at Abbey Meadows.  It was only our second visit to this site, having first joined Abingdon Carbon Cutters here back in May 2015. On that occasion we pulled thistles, but this time, cutting and raking of the meadow was on the agenda.

A small group of just ten Green Gymmers met with Lucille from the Carbon Cutters group. Some of the area had been cut before our arrival, while other areas had yet to be started.  Some of us therefore began raking while others took slashers and began to scythe.  Lucille was armed with a strimmer and she was able to make good progress while we stuck to our hand-tools.

In the warm sunshine, we quickly found both tasks to be hard going, especially as the ground was still damp and our cutting utensils required regular re-sharpening!  Nevertheless we persisted, and while progress was slow, it was good to see that we were advancing through the job.

A couple of us had to get going at the mid-morning break, but not before taking refreshments and enjoying Lucille's excellent cake. The remainder soldiered on until the end of the session, trying to make the most of the nice weather while it lasted!
-Andrew



Assembling adjacent to the Wild Flower Maze.

Raking begins.

The area is home to many insects and small creatures.

Kevin and Rosie cut back the wild flowers.


Lucille with her strimmer.

Margaret raking.

A common toad.

Cake at the break.

Reflecting on our hard work!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Our Autumn 2017 Programme has now been published

View our new Autumn 2017 programme below or click the following link for a pdf file version (open in new window)... Autumn Programme



Summer Picnic, Jarn Mound and Wild Garden, Boars Hill, 12th August 2017

Our annual picnic was held at Jarn Mound and Wild Garden, Boars Hill for the second year running.  Around 25 of us including regular Green Gymmers and friends and partners turned up for the occasion.

Carolyn had done a fine job in organising the event and in ensuring that we all brought along a variety of food and drinks for everyone to enjoy. 

The feast was prepared at 11am as we assembled in the gardens, and while a small team laid out the spread, the remainder went off on a short walk, led by James.  We visited a nearby vantage point, the Signal Elm field - another Oxford Preservation Trust site, giving fine views across to Oxford itself.

As we returned, the picnic was ready and we formed an orderly queue before filling our plates with the delicious offerings. After the savoury dishes were finished, desserts were prepared including a cake for Eleanor, who has a landmark birthday at this time.  We sang 'Happy Birthday' both for her and Ursula who also celebrates her birthday now.

Following tea and coffee, we packed up, bellies full and another summer programme at an end.  The new edition of our work schedule is now ready to go and will be uploaded shortly!
-Andrew



The group gather at the picnic spot.

A good turnout!

Lesley helps James get to grip with his map-reading skills!

Heading off for a walk to the Signal Elm.

Almost at the Elm... actually an Oak tree!

Rosie with the four-leaf clover she found!

Taking in the view over Oxford.

A board to assist with the identification of Oxford landmarks in the distance.

Oxford in the distance.

The blackberries in stages of ripening.

A path flanked with Himalayan Balsam!

Getting stuck in to the picnic!

The sun made a brief appearance.

Singing Happy Birthday to Eleanor.

Dessert is served.

Carolyn's amazing Guinness cake!






Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Abbey Fishponds, 5th August 2017

We met Lucy from Earth Trust at the entrance to Abbey Fishponds. There were several tasks to be done – raking and piling up the cut grass and reeds near the Radley Road end, looking for Himalayan Balsam in the reed bed and along the stream, cutting back brambles and other vegetation encroaching on the paths and, as usual, some litter picking.

Most of the grass and reed raking was finished by tea break time. The sky was looking dark and threatening to the North and a sudden gusty wind got up. We feared we would be drenched by a downpour, but luckily we only got the edge of it. Most of it, I was reliably informed later, fell on the Countryfile show at Blenheim Palace. We were also joined by a black cat, who clearly regards the Fishponds as its own territory. It decided that Colin’s trolley was worth investigating and climbed in, not having been warned of the perils of trespassing in this area.

Lucy had been cutting the hedge with a petrol trimmer so after the break there were a lot of hedge clippings to be cleared and more work to do on the other paths. We finished in good time, however, though we could have done with a broom and were pleased to have missed the worst of the rain.
-Eleanor


Photos by Margaret: