Southern Town Park, 30th March 2019

Such a beautiful sunny spring day for today’s green gym session, led by Sally, which took place at the Southern Town Park. Thirteen of us turned up, meeting in the car park which was unexpectedly packed due to a kids’ football tournament. Loaded up with tools, litter picking equipment and the usual safety gear, we made our way around the pitches to set up base camp at the usual picnic table.

Our main tasks for today were to weed the wildflower patch, previously planted by green gymmers, to expand this patch and sow more seeds, to clear fallen branches in the wooded areas nearby and a bit of litter picking.

Sally had brought along the ‘Grow Wild’ box, donated by Kew Gardens with the aid of national lottery funding. Inside the box were six packs of ‘Bloomin’ Brilliant’ Wildflowers’ seeds, each enough for 10 square metres, along with instructions, stickers, a fold-out calendar showing what to expect from the wildflowers year round, and some two-for-one entry vouchers to Kew Gardens itself. All in all a lovely box! And if that wasn’t enough, Sally had also brought along last year’s seed packets, so we could remember what we’d already planted, with a comprehensive illustrated list of plants we’d find which she’d typed up (and is available upon request), plus her Collins Wildflower Guide to aid in identifying what was what on the patch. ‘Let’s just say I didn’t have an early night last night,’ she said. But we all appreciated her hard work preparing for today.

As we approached the wildflower patch, it was remarked with wry astonishment that Ursula’s beautiful sign hadn’t yet been vandalised. We got on hands and knees and started pulling out the nettles and goosegrass, leaving the wildflowers and anything we were unsure of.

Meanwhile James and Roger set to work in the woods and Joanna took to litter picking. By the end of the first half of the session, much had been achieved, although when Joanna left her two bags of rubbish in the layby, ready for collection by the council, an angler fishing in the reservoir nearby came over and accused her of dumping rubbish – quite the opposite, she had to explain!

We gathered in the glorious sunshine for tea-break and were joined by Eleanor’s family, including her two year old grandson. We were three down after the break, but continued raking, sowing and working in the woodland. There was an abundance of ladybirds, some bees and butterflies and quite a few tiny frogs to be seen. Then it was back to the car park, all of us looking forward to seeing what comes of the wildflower patch in a few weeks’ time.

Now all we need is a sprinkling of rain to get those seeds germinating!

The arsenal!

Gathering at the car park.

Setting up camp.

Sally’s comprehensive listing of all the wildflowers planted previously.

Last season's seed packets.

Grow Wild stickers.

The full pack provided by Kew Gardens plus Sally’s wildflower guide.

This year’s seed packet.

One of many ladybirds.

Weeding the wildflower patch.

Amazement that the sign hasn't been vandalised.

Gathering in the sunshine for tea break.

James tidying up branches.

A tiny frog.

A mound of weeds and leaves n stuff.



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