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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, 29 April 2015

Wed 29th April 2015 - Pan Mill Meadows, Shide.

Sue's Photographs.

Carrie's Photographs.

Pathway building.

Closing off a pathway.

Extreme wheelbarrowing!
Mark's Photographs.


Common Toad.

As somebody famous once said...."A picture paints a thousand words" and the picture below is a rain radar plot taken at 11:30 on Wednesday morning - it explains everything about the weather at that time!

Needless to say, Team GG got VERY wet during the session even though we started, and ended, work in the dry. The mown area of the meadow is looking wonderful but we were tasked to concentrate on the pathway that runs along the eastern boundary of the site. Most of the work this week involved a certain amount of re-cycling.... wood chips to build paths, gravel (from the dry stream bed) to fill in the areas that flood, the cuttings taken from the overhanging foliage was either replanted or used to fill in gaps and all the litter was sent off to be re-cycled at the tip. Green Gym really has become GREEN...!

A big "Thank You" to the staff and parking attendant at Matalan for allowing us to park there free of charge (perhaps the IoW Council could learn from this?)

Carrie's Nature Natter.

Two finds this week, the first just at the start of the session by Terri (who is holding the slow worm (Anguis Fragilis) in the picture).  With their long, smooth, shiny grey or brown bodies these look very similar to tiny snakes, but in fact they are harmless legless lizards.  Although found throughout mainland Britain, they are most common in Wales and south-west England, but absent from Ireland.

They like humid conditions and creep out from their hiding places at dusk or after rain, hunting for food, while spending the winter hibernating under piles of leaves or within tree roots.  If attacked by a predator they can shed their tails to escape, although they never fully grow back.
They eat slugs, snails, insects, earthworms and spiders, and you can see them in meadow and woodland areas, or hiding under rocks or logs in grassy meadows, farmland, woodland margins and open fields, usually from March to October.

Our second find was wild garlic (see picture) which smelt lovely during the morning session, especially when the rain started.  This native British plant is also known as Bear leek, Bear’s garlic, Buckrams, Ramsons, and Broad-leaved garlic.  It can grow to heights of between 45 and 50 cm with edible leaves and flowers.  The young leaves are delicious added to soups, sauces and pesto, best picked when young and appear in March.  The flowers emerge from April to June, and can add a potent garlic punch to salads and sandwiches.

The Latin name “Allium Ursinum” refers to the brown bear’s taste for the bulbs, and they are also a favourite with wild boar, although you don’t see many of either species in the Britain of today.  It is used traditionally throughout Europe as a spring tonic due to its blood-purifying properties, and is also thought to lower cholesterol.

The smell is said to repel cats, so may be a useful inclusion for a keen ornithologist’s garden, but despite its strong scent, it has a much mellower taste than conventional garlic.

Many thanks to Sue, Carrie and Mark for the photographs this week and to Carrie for the Nature Natter.

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