Friday, 12 February 2016

Orchard Day, 27th Feb 11am-1pm

We will continue our orchard maintenance by pruning the trees on 27th Feburary, 11am-1pm, weather permitting.  
The community orchard is located in the south field, right beside the Bournville Road entrance (SE6) and the children's playground. 
Everyone is welcome.  Some tools are provided but if you happen to have your own gardening gloves and secateurs, please do bring them along.

Ladywell Fields Tree Walk: Part 2

We continue our series from part 1, introducing the twenty most interesting trees in Ladywell Fields. 

As you reach the footbridge at the southern perimeter of the hospital grounds, cross to admire the trees on the eastern bank. Downstream is a Mimosa (4), with tiny fern-like leaves, although it is currently somewhat obscured by ivy. It originates from Australia and probably likes this sheltered position. 

Upstream is a fine row of Grey Poplars (5) growing along the river bank. Because they are growing so close together they have become very tall and bend easily in the wind. They have beautiful silvery grey bark.

Continue from the bridge to the playground. Standing in the playground is what used to be the tallest tree in the park, a fine female Black Poplar (6), probably a hybrid. In the summer of 2015 she was given a radical pollarding after a branch dropped on the playground. She should recover from this in a few years and resume her annual snow of seeds each June, covering the playground and creating a magical effect for children.

This content is based on the observations of an enthusiastic amateur. Any corrections and further suggestions will be gratefully received.

Next Ladywell Fields User Group Meeetings

Our next meetings will be held on Wednedays 23rd March and 22nd June, as usual upstairs in the Art Gallery behind the Ladywell Tavern from 7.30pm.
Everyone welcome.

Keen to take a lead role in an exciting local environmental project?

Iona Orchard nature reserve is a haven of green tranquility behind a locked gate at the south end of Ladywell Fields (i.e. in the Crofton Park area) just a stone's throw from South Circular.

Iona Orchard is a SINC - a site of interest for nature conservation - because the ancient fruit trees, alive and dead, provide home to some uncommon species of beetles. The site, which is part owned by the Council, part by L&Q Housing Association, used to be the double gardens of the pair of fine Victorian villas that face onto Ravensbourne Park Road - but now it is fenced off and secure without free public access.

The Council's Ecology Manager, in liaison with the Ladywell Fields User Group and L&Q, has drawn up a management plan for the site and for the last few years Nature's Gym and the Ladywell Fields User Group have run volunteer sessions to build a woodchip path, keep brambles and ivy at bay.

Ten fruit trees (of traditional varieties) have been planted with the help and generosity of the Urban Orchard Project and, in time, they will grow into full-sized trees - but they have to be looked after carefully to ensure they survive and thrive.

Now is the time to take this project to a new level so that the site can be declared safe for educational visits during the Summer and Autumn, so might you be able to help - either by coming along to the occasional volunteer session or by joining a 'management committee' for the site. An Interest in ecology, gardening and/or environmental volunteering would be helpful but is not essential.

Families are welcome although parents may wish to keep a close eye on younger kids, especially if and when work is being done one-site, until such time as we're fully confident the site is completely safe (i.e. free of any residual broken glass, cans etc.)

If you're interested, please email and let us know how you'd like to be involved and what sort of time commitment you might be able to make.

Robert Sheppard

Monday, 1 February 2016

Orchard maintenance volunteer day

On Sunday a group of four intrepid volunteers braved the wet weather to apply mulch at our 30+ cherry, apple and pear trees, giving them a better chance of competing with the meadow grass. We did not prune the trees because of the rain--we still intend to do that on 27th Feburary, weather permitting.  Please do come along, bringing gardening gloves and secateurs if you have any.