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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 :-

The link to Twitter is

If you would like to leave us any comments then please use this link

Thursday 29 April 2010

Wed 28th April 2010 - West Wight Community Centre, Freshwater.

One of our regular sites this week, although we have not been here since April 2009, at WW Community Centre in Freshwater. As it is some time since our last visit, the grounds were certainly in need of a good tidy up, so some 30 Green Gymmers we were very busy digging over, cutting back, weeding, and clearing pathways. There was also a small amount of painting to be done, and as we always try to leave it as spick and span as possible, there was much sweeping and barrowing of weeds and branches to their compost heap at the back of the Centre.

Carrie’s Nature? Lesson

Well is this week’s discovery of a mystery bug a new species for the Isle of Wight, an addition to the Island’s collection of dinosaurs, or have we actually been invaded by a visitor from outer space? The truth is out there!

Many thanks to Carrie for the details and photographs. Any comments about the locals in West Wight coming from outer space will be sent directly to her.....!!!!!!!

Saturday 24 April 2010

Wed 21st April 2010 - Medina Valley Centre, Dodnor.

Back again at the Medina Centre, continuing with some of the tasks unfinished from last week, and a couple of new ones. We are still trying to remove all the bramble from the unimproved chalk grassland, and there was one more post to put in for the information boards. Our two new tasks were to lay a membrane along one of the pathways, which we had levelled off a few weeks ago, and then spread some woodchip over the membrane to improve the access. The second was to undertake some woodland management in the two areas we planted with trees about five years ago; this involved removing any damaged branches, taking off the plastic ties and removing the stakes. We also put all the re-useable ties and stakes into three wheelbarrows and took these back to the Centre.

Thank you to Carrie for the above.

Thursday 15 April 2010

Wed 14th April 2010 - Medina Valley Centre, Dodnor Newport

Back again at Medina Valley, continuing with previous tasks and undertaking new ones. An area near the car park required some extensive weeding and raking over in preparation for the sowing of grass seed. The area seeded on our previous visit is already starting to grow nicely. Work continued on digging up bramble from the chalk grassland, and more big posts were put in for the placement of information boards. One of the large trees was damaged during the winter snow and had to be felled. It has since been cut up into pieces, and our final task was to transport the cut pieces by barrow and trailer from the area by the river up to the back of the centre, to be stacked into piles ready for use in their wood burner.

Carrie’s Nature Lesson

Lots of exciting finds this week - Dactylorhiza fuchsia (Spotted Orchid) and while our image only shows the leaves, it will have lots of small pink flowers growing in a dense spike. Each flower is about 15mm diameter with a typical orchid shape and marked with purple spots. The leaves are broad and marked with wide purple spots, and it is usually found in marshes, meadows and other grassy places. Next we have Ground Ivy (Glechoma Hederacea) whose common names include Alehoof, Creeping Charlie, Catsfoot, Field Balm, Run-away Robin, Gill-over-the-ground and Tunhoof. The flowers are blue or bluish-violet to lavender, and are usually seen in the Spring. It thrives in moist shaded areas, but also tolerates sun very well, and is a common plant in grasslands and wooded areas or wasteland. It also thrives in lawns and around buildings. Our next find was a beautiful Hawthorn Shield bug (Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale), whose chief food is haws, but adults can over winter on a diet of leaves, and individuals can be found on many potential food plants including pedunculate oak, sessile oak and whitebeam. The may grow up to 17mm long and are camouflaged in shades of green and brown. Their backs consist of a hard carapace which protects the wings underneath, hence the word “shield” in the name.

Many thanks to Carrie for the text and photographs this week.

Friday 9 April 2010

Wed 7th April 2010 - Dimbola Lodge, Freshwater.

It is more than a year since we visited Dimbola Lodge so as expected there was a lot to do, and despite it being Easter holidays, some 30 Green Gymmers turned up on what proved to be a warm, dry day. The hedge in front of the café windows had grown rather tall, so our first job was to check to ensure there were no birds nesting in the hedge. We then strung a blue marker rope along the hedge, and five strong men set to with loppers to make the whole hedge shorter, thus restoring the beautiful view. Another group then packed all the cut pieces into large bags for later disposal. The whole area at the front, side and rear courtyard was badly in need of weeding and tidying, so those of us not in the hedge cutting team set to work with small forks and secateurs; our efforts certainly improved the look of the gardens.

Once is a big thank you to Carrie and Eddie for the photographs and editorial.

Thursday 1 April 2010

Wed 31st March 2010 - St George's School, Newport.

Lots of tasks for the Green Gym this week, on our visit to St Georges School in Newport. Some fruit trees needed pruning, compost had to be mixed to plant some olives in pots, and there were also a selection of trees to be planted – rowan, birch and cherry. Lots of plants had to be set out in the areas created by the school, and Trish from Ventnor Botanic Gardens came along to supervise the planting to make sure they all went in the right place. The final task was to bolt together some wood to create raised beds, and it was wheelbarrows full of soil to be transported, and we managed to fill one with soil. The beds have to be accessible for wheelchair users, and the idea is that various classes take responsibility for the separate beds, and grow whatever they want.

A big thanks to Carrie for the editorial and photographs.