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Isle of Wight Green Gym - Official Blog.

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Wed 26th Oct 2016 - Pan Mill Meadows, Newport. GG # 658.

Sue's Photographs.

It all looks rather daunting….

So much to rake up….bag….and then dispose of.

Lots of GGmers to share the task.

Yes, we found (yet another) shopping cart.

Down on the compost heap...

Looking much clearer.

Each week, as I write this blog, it gets even more difficult to come up with something original to write. This week it could be all summed up by a single word "raking". To pad it out a bit, I suppose an explanation of why we do it would fill in a few lines..! When we started working on this site, many years ago (18/10/2006 - ten years ago!), it was very overgrown with dense undergrowth. Eventually it was cleared and established as a meadow and… to keep it thus, it is cut at the end of the growing season each year. To stop the cuttings composting the ground (which encourages the grass and weeds to grow next year) we rake everything up thereby giving the meadow flowers a fighting chance. As can be seen from the photographs above, such endeavours gives everyone involved a really good work-out! If you are wondering why there is an uncut area left, it is because there were a couple of wasp nests in that bit! As per usual at GG sessions, the whole area was given a good "litter pick" which revealed the ubiquitous shopping trolley, car tyre, traffic cone, bags of cans and bottles etc. The run of good autumn weather continues with some sun and a balmy 15C for us to enjoy. A really good turnout for what might be considered one of our less exciting, but very necessary, tasks.

Phew, once again I have managed to write a few lines to accompany Sue's excellent photographs, thanks Sue.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wed 19th Oct 2016 - RSPCA Headquarters, Rookley. GG # 657.

Sue's Photographs.

Above..and below…one VERY overgrown pond.

The orchard area was looking "grown in" as well.

Well, it is no good just looking at it - let's get stuck-in!

It was so overgrown it was oozing through the fence.


Starting to see a way through.

Those GGmers with log burning stoves did well today.

Working on "Treasure Island" in the middle of the pond.

Looking better...

so much space...

especially around the pond..!

Our visits to the RSPCA Animal Centre are few and far between which gives everything a chance to grow but this time everyone was astounded just how much had become overgrown since our last visit..!  Areas that we had completely cleared previously were totally engulfed with brambles and weeds (not forgetting the dreaded bamboo!) So much so it was even difficult to see the pond, let alone walk around it. No point in getting despondent about it…grab the tools and start hacking a way through, then hopefully it will all turn out ok by the end of the session(?) One of the benefits of working at this site is that all the dog lovers amongst us are exposed to a constant stream of dogs being walked around the grounds. Who can resist the chance to make a fuss of a dog - especially one that hasn't got a "real" owner? By the time tea break came around, team GG were really ready for all the cake that had been laid on for us (many thanks!) Then it was back to the hard graft and a final push to try and get everything cleared and tidy before end of play. It is worthing taking a look at the first pictures above and then the ones at the end…. what a difference…!!! For the first time ever, we managed to get the majority of the area around the pond clear PLUS the island that is in the middle. Everyone attending deserves a big pat on the back for their sterling efforts. The weather was still mild, for mid October but it won't be long before we are starting on frosty ground….

Many thanks to Sue for the photographs this week and to the RSPCA staff for supplying the cake.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wed 12th Oct 2016 - Swanmore Meadows, Ryde. GG # 656.

Sue's Photographs.

Lots of raking up to do...

Dredging the stream.

More raking..

Working in one of the ponds.

Awww - 2 x cute 4 legged friends.

Yep, you guessed it - MORE RAKING..!

Dragging more rubbish from the stream

Working on a new bridge.

Hay making..???

Just some of the items recovered from the stream.

Above and below - well raked over areas.

Hope that the dog walkers appreciate our efforts.

Considering that a year ago most of us had never even heard of Swanmore Meadows, we certainly seem to be spending a lot of time there recently..! Prior to this visit, large areas had been mechanically flailed so all the cuttings needed to be raked-up. This stops it rotting into the ground, which adds nutrients to the grass and weeds, which would then restricts the growth of the wild meadow flowers. The cleared areas should look amazing come next summer. Other tasks undertaken involved building approach ramps to the newly built bridge and dredging the stream to remove as much rubbish as possible. The items removed included three bike frames, a child's scooter, car tyres, a shopping cart along with numerous tree branches and logs. Hopefully, this will help to stop this area flooding as much come the winter storms. Considering that it was almost mid October, the weather is still very mild although the easterly wind took the edge off the temperature. As can be seen from the photographs above, it was a well attended session with lots of the tasks completed by the end.

Many thanks to Sue for taking the photographs this week.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Wed 5th Oct 2016 - Flowers Brook, Ventnor. GG # 655.

Sue's and Terry's Photographs.

A nice introduction.

Planting 2,000 crocus bulbs.

This looks a bit overgrown... we had better get on with it!

The russian vine looks pretty but needs cutting back every year.

Clearing away the cuttings.

Three garden gnomes? The three wise monkeys?
Or…The good, the bad and the ugly?
Take your pick.

Some people just love to paddle!

Clearing the waterfall.

The partially cleared bank by the pond.

The stream looks better after being "sorted".

The cleared waterfall - from the bottom.

Pigeons enjoying a bath in the newly exposed water.

A view from the top.

Today we were working with "The friends of Flowers Brook" to give their wonderful site an end of season make-over. As with our previous visits, we concentrated on cutting back the Russian Vine and bramble from the banks surrounding the pond plus, clearing the banks of the stream and working at cutting a way into the waterfall. In addition we helped plant some two thousand Crocus bulbs around the stream area (see Mark's note below). With the wind out of the east and gusting in excess of 40mph, it was reminiscent of one of our previous visits during storm force winds! Although cloudy at times, the October sun was very pleasant.
Each time we have visited here, we have made some progress at cutting back the undergrowth surrounding the waterfall. This time we managed to "find the source of the Amazon" and cut right through to the upper pathway. Tea break was accompanied by cake - many thanks to the baker! Amazing what can be achieved after a cuppa and a slice of cake!

Mark's Note.
So today we helped the Flowers brook group plant 200 crocus bulbs.  Hopefully their lovely purple flowers next spring will populate the grassy areas around the bench  and along the length of the site.  The spectacle will be used as part of The Rotary's 'Purple 4 Polio' campaign which will culminate around that time.

Many thanks to Sue and Terry for the photographs.