Jarn Mound, Saturday 13th of November, 2021

 Ye storm-winds of Autumn! 

Who rush by, who shake 

The window, and ruffle

The gleam-lighted lake; 

Who cross the hill-side

Thin sprinkled with farms, 

Where the high woods strip sadly

Their yellowing arms --

Ye are bound for the mountains! 

('Parting', by Matthew Arnold')

It wasn't actually very windy at all as the Abingdon Green Gym team met on Jarn Mound by Matthew Arnold's Field (see, there was a connection there!) and was instead a rather beautiful day, filled with autumn colours. This Saturday, the team were ready and armed to continue laying a hedge along the side of the wood by the road. This had been partially completed the year before, but we were back again to neaten up the new growth which had sprung up, and to continue our work along the roadside. We were led by Rod D'Ayla, who set us all off in different directions to get going on the hedge. 

Living hedge laying is a job done between October and March when the trees and bushes which make the hedge are dormant, which was why ABG were here now, in the middle of November. One of our jobs was to cut down some of the hedges and trees which had gotten a little too big for their boots (roots?) and were shutting out the light from the hedge (lots of holly, bramble, and sycamore). These cuttings were all put to use, as they were then employed to pad out some of the gappy bits of the hedge. 

The stems which occupied the hedge line (known as the 'pleachers') were cut at an angle, although not all the way through, and then laid along the hedge - but still at an upward slant so that the sap can rise and continue to let the plant grow in the spring and summer. Stakes were then made from from the heftier saplings and hedges that we cut down, and used as supports for the hedge. This meant that there were jobs for everyone: some sawed down the bigger trees, some cut back holly and bramble, and others worked to lay the pleachers or fill in any spaces. Jim pointed out the evidence of previous hedge laying, which had been done fifteen years or so before. This had been done well: the plants had not been killed off, and their stems could now be used for the next generation of hedge! 

At breaktime, Eleanor B. (hello) handed out some gingerbread and Carolyn passed round some Haribo (which proved Kevin wrong that they were not only good for kids...or that Abingdon Green Gym were closer to youth than old age..?)

Carolyn filling the hedge out

Rosie tackles the holly
A three man tree!

Eleanor D. in the hedge 

Hedge...meet fence

Some of the last remaining fungi, spotted by Mags

The new from the old

Beautiful warm autumnal colours

Eleanor B.'s first tree felling, supervised by Mags! (photo by Mags)

Lesley having a good time! 

Jim is very skilled at hedge laying, but does not (as it looks like here) have three hands.

The wonderful hedge at the end of the session (photo by Mags)


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