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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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Friday 24 July 2009

Wed 22nd July 2009 - Osborne Middle School.

This was our second visit to Osborne Middle School, continuing with the work on the pond and around the grounds. The pond has now been fenced and filled with water, so the slabs holding the membrane needed to be moved, and water and bog plants placed in and around the pond. This job generated much entertainment, when Angela fell in and got rather wet (see picture). We also dug over the raised bank, mixed it with compost and planted a variety of wildflowers including yarrow, ladies bedstraw, cowslip and knapweed; and also dug out a border around the edges and planted lots of lavender. There is a bank around the back in which the school want to plant lots of fruit trees, so we cleared the area of the top layer of turf which was put around the edges of the pond, and the cleared space will be dug over and mixed with compost prior to planting.

Carrie’s Nature Lesson

There is already some white yarrow (Achillea millefolium) growing round the pond from the last planting, which is a very versatile and interesting herb. It flowers from June to August with pollination by insects, and the seeds ripen from July to September. It is a perennially flowering plant related to chamomile, and has been highly prized by traditional healers over centuries for its wide range of medicinal properties, particularly its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory actions. It has been used to combat everything from infections and wounds, to digestive disorders and arthritis. It is believed the plant was named after Achilles and according to legend, he used it to help heal the injuries of wounded Greek soldiers and prevent haemorrhaging. The plant is renowned for its effectiveness at speeding the recovery time of wounds, which is thought to be a result of its ability to reduce inflammation and lower the risk of infection.
Thanks to Carrie for the text and phoographs.

Saturday 18 July 2009

Read all about it....! Green Gym meets Royalty.

Many thanks to June & Eddie for the photographs and June for the editorial below.
Wow - and double Wow!

It went very well. We had lots of waiting time beforehand but the Gardens has put us in the Temperate House Reception area to wait so we didn't get rained upon, but we did get a tad hot!

We were wheeled out just before 11 to be corralled near to the plaque which HRH The Prince of Wales was to uncover. I tried to rebel and remove the OTT barricade, but not successfully [we are obviously a high threat to security].

To our rear the County Hall officials were corralled. Eventually when the "party" had walked up into the new gardens and passed their corral they were let loose to run up behind us to make an enormous crowd of about 50 [!!!] to witness the unveiling of the new garden and our award presentation!

The party consisted of HRH POW accompanied by Simon, followed by HRH DOC accompanied by Alan Titchmarsh and followed by dignitaries and Debs who was allowed out of Highgrove for the day and as thrilled as we were to be so honoured.

They turned the corner to face us and immediately the DOC walked up to our barricade and Lee Cooper who held the posy of wildflowers [donated by Garlic Farm, picked by Colin and made pretty by June] and he performed his role to perfection.

He stood to attention and said, "Happy Birthday Mam", he then bowed from the neck and presented the flowers - he was a star and did it perfectly. HRH POW was heard to say, "ah". She thanked him and shook hands. No one could have done it better, well done and thank you Lee.

HRH POW walked up and saw my enormous Welsh Flag and asked, "who's is this" - proudly I said, "mine", and he put his hand out to shake. After doing all the protocol for everyone to follow, I am sorry to say I failed, I saw his hand and instead of saying, "Your Royal Highness" accompanied by a bob, I just said, "thank you", - god what a let down after Lee's perfect performance!.

He asked about Green Gym then he shook hands with Herbie and seemed to know we had contributed to the new garden. HRH DOC followed and shook Lee's hand, then mine, then Herbie's then Maureen's [Mark's mum]. It was all over in a few seconds. Gob smacked is the word/s!

HRH DOC is so much younger and prettier and thinner than her photos depict her to be, and she seemed very shy and retiring, and to come to the Island on her birthday seemed special to us.

The Lord Lieutenant Maj. Gen. Martin White did a very flattering introduction then HRH POW whisked away the IOW Flag to reveal the plaque. Eddie's next door neighbour's daughter [following this? - it is the IOW ] then read out the citation and the POW presented the crystal brick to Mark and spoke as if GG was entirely responsible for the whole of the new garden! He then shook hands with Colin, both followed by the DOC. It seemed to go on for a while, but really was only a minute or so.

As we were behind this damn barricade there was no chance of a group photo with TRH's, which was a shame, but we had a group photo taken with the crystal brick.

We were honoured and very pleased that Patricia Partridge the Dept. Lord Lieutenant came along to support us and be with us. It was Patricia [when she presented the RCC award to GG last year ] who first suggested we apply for the QAVS. She has been a great support all the way through the process and without her we would never have even thought of going in for this.

It was to Patricia, along with Fiona White [Lord Lieutenant's wife] and Sir Guy Ackland [another Dept Lord Lieutenant] that judged the presentation that Colin and June did for the award back in the winter, without their belief in GG and their support we would never have stood a chance of being awarded this honour.

Mark and Colin were very calm and dignified [as to be expected] and did us proud. The weather could have been better but wasn't that bad, we didn't get rained upon but we need coats.

We then retired to the Griffin in Godshill and had a very welcome glass [or three in my case!] of something fortifying.

The crystal brick is quite heavy and is precious [to us anyway] but it is a group award and therefore it is "ours" therefore we shall all get the chance to "own" it for a while.

You can register your interest in taking it to show your organisation or family and it can be arranged that it is brought to you.

It cannot be insured so reasonable care needs to be taken when it goes out and about. Talk to Mark or Colin or June at Green Gym if you would like to follow this up, or ring 866459 and speak to Colin or June.

Eddie took photos, as did lots of people, and they will be on the blog and on cd for everyone to see. I will be going to CP office during the week to see what photos they have and will get copies of any that are relevant to bring to GG.

Congratulations everyone on getting this award and there is more to come, but that is for later - so, enjoy this for now until we organise our party which will include our families and lots of flags [ including my Welsh Flag - well, at least one, need the dragon/s! ].

Thank you to everyone for getting to the Gardens on time today and for making it all so easy to organise, you are all stars!


Thursday 16 July 2009

Wed 15th July 2009 - Brading Down.

Our second visit in as many weeks to Brading Down helping the Rangers, but this week near the end by the Reservoir and overlooking the Roman Villa, on an exceptionally breezy day. This week’s tasks were clearing yet more ragwort which is now in flower so much easier to spot, although the amount collected is much less than previous years, so obviously our constant clearance is proving very successful. We also cleared the footpath at the base of the Down, which had become impassable in places due to encroachment by small trees, ivy and brambles.

Carrie’s Nature Lesson

This week’s mystery wild plant is Weld (Reseda Luteola) found in waste places and scrubby areas, from the edges of cultivated fields to railway sidings. It has long narrow spikes of small, unscented green-yellow flowers that alternate up the stem, and the wavy lance-shaped leaves are arranged in a rosette at the base of the plant. Weld produces its fruit in erect, oblong, warty capsules and also resembles wild mignonette, which is less than half the height of this stately plant; both species are pollinated by bees. Although native in some parts of the country, its range has been greatly extended by cultivation since it produces an excellent yellow dye, and until quite recently was grown commercially. A local name is dyer’s rocket.
The text and pictures all supplied by Carrie.......many thanks!

Friday 10 July 2009

Wed 8th July 2009 - Cowes County Primary School.

The venue this week was Cowes County Primary, helping the caretaker with jobs in the very extensive grounds. We split into four groups to undertake the various tasks which were – weeding the paved areas by hand to avoid the dangers of using pesticides around the children; weeding and clearing some raised beds at the side of the playground; in the area where they used to keep the hens (unfortunately no longer there due to being left outside on the night Mr Fox was visiting) clearing and weeding one of the long beds and digging in some compost; clearing an area of nettles and brambles behind the polytunnel and building some additional wooden surrounds for plants in the tunnel.
Many thanks to Carrie for the text & pics this week.

Thursday 2 July 2009

Wed 1stJuly 2009 - Brading Down.

A beautiful sunny day with a nice light breeze on top of Brading Down, was this week’s venue for the Green Gym, helping Bob Edney from the Rangers with some clearance work. Our enthusiastic group went to work in quite a large area, digging up and bagging ragwort, removing a large number of large thistles, and clearing a big patch of weeds before they can re-seed and spread further across the Down. An extensive amount was cleared, as can be seen from the very full trailer in the picture.

Carrie’s Nature Lesson

Clearing ragwort inevitably means finding Cinnabar moths and caterpillars; Cinnabar moths (Tyria Jacobaeae) resemble no other British species, except perhaps the burnets, and are fairly common in much of Britain. It is generally nocturnal, but is quite often disturbed during the day from long grass, low herbage etc. The distinctive larvae, with their yellow and black hoops, generally feed gregariously on ragwort (Senecio Jacobaea) and other related plants. We also came across some Burdock (Arctium minus), which grows wild throughout most of North American, Europe and Asia. They are most noticeable from their leaves which are dark green, growing up to 45cm in length with a woolly underneath and prickly seed heads. As a plant, the taproot of young burdock plants (which are black) can be harvested and eaten as a root vegetable.