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Isle of Wight Green Gym - Official Blog.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wed 22nd Jun 2016 - Arreton Down SSSI. GG # 640.

Terry's Photographs.

Hard at work...

Disposing of the Ragwort out of harm's way.

A nice example of a Pyramidal Orchid.
(well spotted Anne!)

The weather closes in at tea-time!

The ladies compete for the biggest Ragwort
plant of the day.

Linda's Photographs.

Some of the "boys" and a pile of the enemy.

Out there in the gloom.

A spider's web covering the door
of the Telly Tubbies' House!

Regular readers of this blog will notice that PPP (Pesky Plant Pulling) is perhaps not the favourite pastime for many of the members of Team GG. Usually, one of the things on the plus side for pulling Ragwort up on the downs, is the stunning views of the surrounding area. Due to the low cloud and misty rain on Wednesday morning, we were to be denied even that…! Having all met up in the recently developed Down End car park (a nice job by the new land owner) we disappeared off into the murk that engulfed the whole area. Brandishing various types of garden fork and clutching a bag for collection, it was time to try and track down every last Ragwort plant in the area. Considering that PPP is hard work and that the weather wasn't exactly perfect, we had a really good turn-out for this session - so a big "Well Done" to all those who attended.

Many thanks to Linda and Terry for the photographs this week.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wed 15th Jun 2016 - Wroxall Stream (Barncourt Farm). GG # 639.

Linda's Photographs.

Back-breaking work...

Find that pesky HB….!!!

A well earned tea break.

Mark's Photographs.

Hemlock Water Dropwort.

Ragged Robin.

A Leafhopper.

The best view of HB - pulled up and in a pile!

The next-door neighbours show an interest...

Barn Swallows.

This week we continued our work at trying to try and eliminate the dreaded Himalayan Balsam from along the fields adjacent to Wroxall Stream. We have now moved south of the Donkey Sanctuary (see earlier blog entries) and working our way upstream, towards the camping site. The first problem was that, on arrival, both ends of Redhill Lane had "road closed" signage…! Being true 'corkheads' we just ignored this and drove past the diversion signs, only to be confronted by two tractors and a truck that were doing ditching work along the single track road! Mark managed to get permission for us to park in the adjacent camping site car park (many thanks to them) so it was a bit of a hike to the work site. The fields adjacent to this stream are left to grow naturally so the undergrowth can be head high in places at this time of year, making the location of the HB quite difficult. Working on the principle that every HB plant pulled out will stop the seeding of numerous new plants next year, we were soon spread out uprooting every one that we could locate. Some of the later team GG arrivals managed to get access to our regular parking spot in the adjacent field, so thank you to Barncourt Farm for giving us permission to use it. In spite of the rather difficult start to the session, it was well attended and the weather warnings for thundery, heavy downpours were not an issue (thank goodness!).

Many thanks to Linda and Mark for the photographs this week.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Wed 8th Jun 2016 - Ventnor Community Early Years Centre, Ventnor. GG # 638.

Terry's Photographs.

Removing the rubble.

"and the plan today is….."

Mark makes sure we always have the BEST tools!

The garden makeover starts.

A technical bit?

Wow, there is soil under all that rubble.

Normal position for the guys - at the sink!

Looking good.

Now…. doesn't that look a whole lot better???

One of the locals calls by to inspect the work.

A new venue for GG this week - at the Early Years Centre, Ventnor. We were tasked to try and convert what can best be described as a bomb site into a garden area for the children to grow things in and to do a complete make-over on a rather overgrown patch of existing garden. With the workforce split into two, each team got stuck in to try and make the magic happen! Team A cleared all the rubbish from the area and started to dig the "soil" over while creating a gated access and repairing the fencing. Team B were over the other side of the car park doing a weeding, trimming and general tidy-up on the garden area. The excellent photographs above (thanks Terry!) show the extent of the work and the improvements made during those few, short hours. Many thanks to the staff who kindly made the tea and coffee for us.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wed 1st Jun 2016 - Brading Down. GG # 637.

Sue's Photographs.

Hi ho….it's off to work we go..

An action shot.

Mark giving tips on how to spot the dreaded plant.

Look at those views..!

Well spread out along the hillside.

The trailer starts to fill.

Not a bad mornings work..!

June 1st is the first day of summer, according to the weather forecasters on the BBC…. a shame that nobody told the weather! Our first visit of the year to Brading Down normally has everyone trying out their shorts and wide brimmed sun hats but this time it was three layers of clothing to keep the northerly wind out. We all assembled in the car park, equipped ourselves with the special 3 pronged forks (see photo below) and plastic bags then headed off to search out the dreaded ragwort. This early in the season ragwort plants are rather difficult to spot but Team GG soon got focused and the ranger's trailer soon started to fill. It is amazing just how many dog walkers and visitors stop you and want to know why we are "weeding the downs with a trowel on a long handle?"….! Even with the cloudy day it was a fantastic site to work at because of the wonderful views across the Island.

If you are interested why we are out persecuting this "weed" have a look at this link
Ragwort/RHS Gardening - Royal Horticultural Society

Below is a picture of the specialist fork we use for digging-up the pesky plant… (the trowel with a long handle)

Many thanks to Sue for the photographs this week.