Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Jarn Mound and Wild Garden, 10th February 2018

We gathered at the Jarn Mound and Wild Garden, Boars Hill on Saturday, at least 15-strong.  There we met with Oxford Preservation Trust (OPT) warden Rachel Sanderson plus some local volunteers and received our instructions for the morning.

As Green Gym session leader James had already outlined in his email during the previous week, the task was to cut up and remove fallen tree debris from the Wild Garden using bow saws and loppers.  The heavy snowfall here over the winter had caused a lot of damage and while tree surgeons had already been in attendance to tackle the most dangerous branches, there was much detritus left for us to clear.

By the time we arrived on site, a bonfire had already been lit and some of the smaller cut branches were being added to it. The larger logs were stacked to one side to make a habitat pile for wildlife. Rachel then provided further instructions, crucially including which areas of the garden to focus our activities on. 

We set to work fairly frantically as some persistent and increasingly heavy rain appeared on the scene. However, the precipitation neither dampened our spirits nor extinguished the bonfire, which was soon raging quite satisfactorily. 

Time zipped by and almost before we knew it, we were summoned away to the nearby shelter to take our teas and coffees.  The beverages were accompanied not only by the customary biscuits, but Ursuala's delicious home-made marmalade cake. Her bake perfectly showcasing the Green Gym marmaladies' recent batch of preserve (£2 a jar, proceeds go directly to group funds).

Just when it was supposed that things couldn't get any better, Sally then whipped out a quantity of toasting forks and marshmallows and gathered us around the fire to participate in the fun.

Fully refreshed we continued our clearance tasks for the remainder of the session.  While progressing outwards, we inevitably tackled debris further away from the fire.  It was quite a drag to get some of the branches back from the furthest reaches of the site, but this we did.  

Towards the end of the morning the instruction was received to stop adding additional material to the fire in order for it to burn itself out. It had been a gallant effort all round to achieve all that we did, even if there is much more of the same remaining for our next visit. 
-Andrew



The Green Gymmers appear in a puff of smoke.

Bonfire smoke or a low cloud?

Chop chop.

See saw.

Graham and Dan add fuel to the flames.

Carolyn gets fired-up.

Fire water.

Group shot minus the appointed photographers.

Luxury tea break shelter.

Ursula distributes her (Green Gym) Marmalade cake, much to Margaret's delight.

Taking precautions while toasting a marshmallow.

Rachel on top, Graham underneath.

Moss and ivy.

What a drag for Ursula!

Kevin branches out.

Bow saws and loppers.

A few beech leaves cling on through the winter.

A proliferation of snowdrops.

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