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

Thursday 28 July 2011

Wed 27th July 2011 - One Horse Field, Totland.

Eddie's Photographs.

Carrie's Photographs.

The GG Team were back at an old favourite this week.....One Horse Field in Totland. The tasks involved trying to clear a large area of bracken that had grown along the NE boundary of the field and a general cut back / tidy up around the site. The bracken pulling proved to be on a par with the delightful job of Ragwort lifting (there was even some of that to do!) but good progress was made and the area looked much better for our efforts at the end of the session. (See above "before & after" pictures.) Although cloudy at times the weather held fine and we had a good turnout of the GG Team. During the morning we were filmed for a DVD release which will be all about the Island's green and voluntary working aspects......Once again we are film stars...!!!!

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

This week's find was some Tufted Vetch (Vicia Cracca), this conspicuous plant with a showy heads of violet-purple flowers is commonly found scrabbling through vegetation. It climbs by means of branched tendrils found on the ends of its ladder like leaves which are divided into 8-12 pairs, and can be identified as a true vetch (Vicia) by not having a winged or angled stem which would be the case were it a pea or vetchling. This plant is a perennial of hedgerows, woodland edges, rough grassland and river banks, and has a preference for reasonably fertile, damp soils but is intolerant of permanently damp sites. It has limited capacity for vegetative spread and is mainly reliant upon its large seeds for regeneration, and this coupled with its need of surrounding vegetation for support means it is rarely found in pasture or mown grassland. It can, however, become established in meadow, particularly those cut later in the season (which is the case with One Horse Field), and is pollinated by bumble bees and other large bees.

Many thanks to Carrie for the pictures and nature lesson & to Eddie for his pictures.

Thursday 21 July 2011

Wed 20th July 2011 - Northwood House, Cowes.

Eddie's Photograph.

Carrie's Photographs.

Well you couldn't say that the Green Gym let a little bit of rain stop them working, mind you it was more like a LOT of rain although nearly 30 of us braved the extremely wet conditions to undertake further tasks at Northwood House the first being to drag a large amount of cut tree branches over to the compost heap, and the second to sweep a big pile of leaves from under one of the trees (at least this group were slightly drier). Our final task was to work on the garden and exterior walls of the Lodge, which is a Grade II listed building and still lived in. The garden was very overgrown and needed a good clear out to open up the path around the building, trim back the ivy on the walls and cut back the shrubs as well as removing some tree branches to let in more light. All the stuff cleared out was taken to the back boundary of the garden and stacked into piles to rot down. One of this week's images is a fascinating picture of a metal tie which has been placed around part of the building (sort of a metal belt to hold it together) dated we think around 1890, and has two horseshoes placed in the corner, presumably hoping to be lucky it didn't fall down!

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

Friday 15 July 2011

Wed 13th July 2011 - CE Primary School, Newport.

Our second visit in as many weeks to Newport CE Primary School, continuing the work begun previously. We gave the willow dome a really good clear out so that when the children play there they can be seen by the teachers to make sure they are safe. Some nice bits of willow were also taken away for the monkeys in the Owl and Monkey Haven (who really like to eat it apparently). We also put some plants in the bog garden, covered the membrane with compost, made a couple of habitat piles and transferred a large stone to make a nice feature in the centre. Work also continued on the meadow to attract bees and butterflies, with several Green Gymmers bringing plants and seeds along to populate the garden. A membrane was laid, plants added and watered, then covered with wood chip which was barrowed some distance from where it had been delivered.

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

Saturday 9 July 2011

Wed 6th July 2011 - The Duver, St Helens.

Yes it's that time of the year again when the Green Gym take up their
litter pickers, black bags and ragforks, to help the National Trust wardens
keep their land and beach at St Helens shipshape and Bristol fashion. About
40 of us set to on a somewhat changeable day with a couple of light showers,
but dry on the whole. The ragwort was certainly plentiful and the beach
clean yielded the usual crop of all sorts of plastic, cans and bottles
together with other detritus (including smelly things in black bags)
obviously some dog owners have trouble seeing the bright red bins that you
actually put the bags in!!!!

Carrie's Nature Lesson

This week we came across one of the best-known flowers of the countryside,
Foxgloves (Digitalis Purpurea). This tall familiar herb produces 20-80
nodding flowers on a long spike, known as a raceme. The tube-like flowers
are pinkish-purple in colour, with an area of white inside the tube
featuring darker purple spots and a few hairs. The greyish stem is woolly,
and the green oval or lance-shaped leaves have downy upper surfaces, but are
woolly below. The common name derives from the Anglo-Saxon 'foxes glofa'
meaning foxes gloves, and refers to the tubular flowers which are suggestive
of the gloves of a small animal. The flowers were also known as 'witches'
thimbles' by Medieval herbalists. This species thrives in acidic soils in a
range of habitats including open woods, woodland clearings, moorland, heath
margins, hedge banks, sea-cliffs, waste land, rocky mountain slopes and
hedgebanks. The active agents in foxglove, known as digitoxin and digoxin,
are still used in modern medicine to control heart rate.

Many thanks to Carrie and Mark for the pictures and to Carrie for the editorial.

Friday 1 July 2011

Wed 29th June 2011 - Newport CoE Primary School.

A new site for us at Newport CE Primary School, helping improve the grounds for the children. Our main task was to build a bog garden in an area which becomes very wet; this involved removing the turf, digging the soil out about a foot deep and putting in a membrane with a few holes for drainage. We then barrowed over some compost to mix with the original soil, and put it all back in the hole. Later in the year the children will be selecting the plants they want in the garden and planting it up. Other work involved cutting back the willow dome and making a start on creating a flower meadow in another area.

Carrie's Nature Lesson

A very common creature when we start digging - a leatherjacket - these are the larvae of the European Crane Fly (or Daddy Long Legs as they are commonly known). The adults hatch from pupae in late July and August and lay their eggs in the ground within 24 hours of hatching. The larvae hatch about 2 weeks later and start to feed on grass roots, which continues through winter and into spring. They stop feeding in May/June when they will pupate in the soil. In general, they stay underground in the day and move up to the turf leaves at night. They are very sensitive to drying and do not survive if they are dried out by the sun.

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