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IoW GG links

To look at the Isle of Wight Green Gym web page (contains details of sessions etc) please use the following link :-

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Wed 15th Aug 2018 - Brading Down. GG # 748.

Our session today brings the Pesky Plant Pulling for 2018 to a grand finale. Being up on the Downs, this time we were tacking the dreaded Ragwort which is described below....

The daisy-like, yellow flower heads of Common Ragwort may be pretty enough to the casual observer, but they belie the poisonous nature of this plant. Renowned as a weed of paddocks and pastures, where it can be harmful to livestock, it is not usually such an issue in gardens or on waste ground. In fact, it is the foodplant of the black-and-red Cinnabar moth: sometimes its black-and yellow-barred caterpillars cover the plant, totally stripping the leaves. Common Ragwort is a biennial, flowering in its second year from June to November.

The problem we have on the Downs is that there are two different types of Ragwort growing in close proximity and at this time of the year, as the plants are going to seed, it is quite difficult to pick out the poisonous one. Undeterred, Team GG were soon spread out across the top of the Down hunting down every last pesky plant (well, almost EVERY last one!) and loading them in the trailer for careful disposal. Although not as hot as recent sessions, it was a pleasant, somewhat cloudy day and  was well attended. Perhaps everyone turned up to take in the wonderful views across the Island..?

Photographs will be added as they arrive. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Wed August 8th 2018 - The Riverside Centre, Newport. GG # 747.

Terry's Photographs.

Work gets underway....

New top soil/compost and the pea gravel. was VERY overgrown...!

Planting up the "new" flower bed.

Everyone hard at work.

Disposing of the "arisings".

Bob's Photographs.

and after we had finished!

Before work started...

It has been a couple of years since GG last worked at the Riverside Centre - and I doubt that anyone had touched the gardens since our last visit..! Everywhere you looked, the flower beds were overgrown with shrubs, weeds and bramble, truly a daunting task even for a group of hardened GGmers. So eager were we to get "stuck in" that many of the early arrivers began work by 9:30 - some 30 minutes ahead of our scheduled start time. The long bed under the restaurant windows needed particular attention as the "soil" consisted mainly of builders sand and rubble. We were tasked to chop down all the weeds, remove all the compacted sand and rubble, replace that with a mix of new soil and compost, put down weed control membrane, plant it up with new plants and then top it off with pea gravel (see before and after photographs above). Not much to do there then...! Other members of the team tackled some of the very overgrown areas along with de-weeding the paved areas around the site. I am sure that the photographs show the full extent of the work.
The long, dry, extremely hot period of weather was finally drawing to a close so we had a warm but cloudy day with just the slightest sprinkling of rain. Great conditions to be working hard in.
The Riverside staff were kind enough to supply us with bacon or sausage baps plus tea and coffee at our tea break. Needless to say this was gratefully received by all so a big thank you to everyone that was involved with the preparation.
Although a tremendous amount was achieved in a very short time, there is much more to be done around the site. There is a rumour that we might be returning sometime in October - I am sure we will all be looking forward to that :-)

Many thanks to Terry for the photographs this week.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Wed 1st Aug 2018 - Downend, Arreton Down. GG # 746.

Terry's Photographs.

Trekking to the work site.

Just look at that sky and the view.

Taking a photo of someone taking a photo...!

A well earned tea break.

One of the beautiful Chalk Hill Blue butterflies.

Just some of the trimmings.
Tony's Photographs.

This week our attention was on  some light scrub control in order to maintain the wonderful chalk grasslands that we have on our downs. Without considerable maintenance, these areas would soon become overgrown with bramble and hawthorn. It was something of a long stroll from the car park to where we were working but the effort was more than offset by taking in the wonderful views. Yes, the fields were a little browner this year, due to the prolonged hot & dry weather we have been experiencing but still a stereotypical English rural landscape...! We were soon tackling the areas of scrub that had sprung up this year, surrounded by a kaleidoscope (yes, that is the collective noun..!) of chalk hill blue butterflies, they were in their thousands. Tea break is always welcome at a GG session but I doubt that we could have a better vista than this one to contemplate while having a cuppa. The rain, that we so badly needed, seems to have left us once again and we enjoyed blue skies with those puffy cumulous clouds that make a summer's day so perfect.

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

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Wed 25th July 2018 - Lynch Copse, Newchurch. GG # 745.

Tony's Photographs.

Mark's Photographs.

Bob's Photograph.

This week was our final Himalayan Balsam pulling session of 2018....yay...! We all met up in the carpark by the school then headed off on something of a route march down to the work site. It didn't really help that it was on one of the hottest days of this year but.... we eventually arrived and started work on a rather large clump of HB. Had it just been that we had to pull the head high plants up, then that would have been easy - which is never the GG way, we had to contend with the heat, an electric fence, stinging nettles and a well hidden deep ditch...! Oh well...might as well end the HB pulling season on a high :-) In spite of the perils, we did make good progress at eliminating all we could find so perhaps there will be a few less to pull next year..?  (we are ever hopeful..) We now just have the last of the ragwort sessions and that will be the PPP over for another year, hooray!

A note from Alison.

 I received my copy of the HIWWT magazine and noted we had a mention. Thought you might be interested if you hadn’t seen it.

Many thanks to Tony and Mark for taking the photographs this week and to Alison for her contribution.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Wed 18th July 2018 - Dickson's Copse, Newport. GG # 744.

Tony's Photographs.

Mark's Photographs.

 This week we returned to Dickson's Copse to continue with the improvements to the woodland. There have been several other groups working on this site plus some GG members doing "extra" sessions all of which has enhanced the area considerably. This week it appeared that Mark has taken his lead from Nick the ranger..... two huge piles of limestone chippings were pre-dumped at either ends of the site....and then he turns up with a trailer full of wheelbarrows, just what you want during a heat wave...! With the majority of the Team tasked to improve the various pathways that criss-cross this area, a small group were dispatched to finish installing the steps that were started at a previous session. Once the "risers" were installed it was just a matter of back filling the boards with barrow loads of the limestone chippings (see photograph above). One area of pathway that needed attention was beyond these new steps so every barrow load had to be manhandled up the seven steps - phew..! Tea break was taken at the new "themed" seating area which is adjacent to the intersection of the cycleway and the path leading down alongside the mill pond. It consists of three blades radiating from a central mill stone and the blades have the facility to park cycles incorporated within them, a nice area to sit and recuperate after a hectic time repairing pathways. As with every session recently, it was hot with blue skies which is all wonderful until you start manual labour :-))

Many thanks to both Tony and Mark for this week's photographs.