Word is getting out, the birds are coming

Have you heard the call of this gorgeous green woodpecker that has been around the park the last few weeks? Once you recognise its call, you will not forget it. I have uploaded it to the EGTC Facebook site. Here it is

There has also been an owl calling this year for the first time in the vicinty of Green Lane. We think it is a tawny owl and it can be heard late at night and early morning. So if you are having trouble sleeping, maybe cast an ear to the window. The presence of the owl might tie in with the glimpse I had this week of a little field mouse just by Green Lane. Clearly the owl is able to source its food here.

A little egret has also been scouting around the ponds in our park the last week.

All rather exciting I think. Maybe the birds have heard about the new community nature reserve and are coming to take a look!

Our community is certainly interested in the project. Around 65 people came to build bird boxes last weekend at the village hall in an event put on by EGTC Community Nature Reserve. If you have not registered your garden yet please do. An online form is available here.

Cold next week, but Spring is on the way!


Dome Village Construction and launch of Community Nature Reserve

I hope you like our two new willow domes by the toddlers play park. The plan is to link them with paths and create a new wildflower patch in the middle a bit like this.

This blackbird in amongst the dogwood would also like us to know that he is delighted with the launch of a community nature reserve in our area.

On January 19th Emersons Green Town Council launched a community nature reserve across the whole town council area including Emersons, Lyde, Blackhorse and parts of Mangotsfield. More than fifty people were at the launch and there was very obvious enthusiasm. The idea is that we should all work together to care for wildlife in the area. Everyone who manages a garden with wildlife in mind is invited to register it as part of the nature reserve. There is also a facebook site EGTC Community Nature Reserve where we can share our plans and any news of wildlife around us. You can register your garden here. Please register your garden even if you are just setting out on being wildlife friendly. The more gardens that we have engaged with this the more effective it will be.

Finally, guess where this picture was taken? It looks like a hot summers day in a field perhaps, but it is actually Lyde Green Lake in the winter sun.

Every day it is getting lighter, soon Spring will be here…

Green Lane and home energy

We have been working hard in Green Lane over the last few weeks. We were delighted with how the dry stone wall went. We learnt how to do it from You Tube! More recently we have been opening up some more areas of the lane so that the soil can see light with the intention of allowing more wildflowers to grow there and allowing us humans to access the path through the winter. The big project has been building a bridge over the mud near Cave Grove.

Julia’s dog clearly liked it! Julia said ‘It was amazing to be able to walk up Green Lane in November. Its usually a no go area. End up with welly boots stuck in the mud!’

I thought some readers of this blog might be interested in an event next Tuesday Dec 6th in Resound. I am hosting a conversation about home energy. It is a subject everyone is talking about just now. What can we do? A chance to talk to others and to get some inspiration. Come and join us. It is open to everyone.

A Love of Nature

I am sure you will have heard of the photo competition that the Town Council are running. They have asked people to submit their photos of local nature and the winning photos will be on a local calendar available soon. I hear that more than a hundred entries have been received! The winners will be announced at an exhibition to be held in the Village Hall next week, on October 20th, details below.

It is very good to sense how local people have got on board with this. As I see it, it is all part of the main task for human beings in these days, which is to develop a love for nature.

Autumn Celebration at the Langley

We are delighted to announce a rather special autumn celebration this year. We are aware that there are now lots of people in the area who value the work of the Friends of Emersons Green Park. We are always hearing appreciative comments about the Orchard, the Dome, the Wildlife garden and the new dry stone wall. We also know that many enjoyed the festival this year despite the rain! Whatever your connection, we would love you all to join us on October 10th at 8pm for an evening at the Langley Arms.

We have invited Michael Loader, who led the parade at the Festival. He is coming to tell a story on a nature theme. Expect something lively and engaging. We shall also be apple pressing and will review the year that is past.

It will be a moment to meet together, join in some fun and see all the things that have been achieved this year. We would also love to hear your ideas about the future.

To cover our costs of this evening we will take up a collection for the work of the Friends of Emersons Green Park. The evening will officially be our AGM. Please share this flyer with others.

False Autumn

Have you noticed how many leaves are on the ground in the park? It is a sign that the trees have been struggling with the drought. They call it a false autumn. The trees begin to shut down when they cannot get enough moisture from the soil.

In other places the park is buzzing with life, not least at our new bee tree. A year or so back you may remember we set up a wildlife garden near the Village Hall, hoping to attract all manner of interesting insects and frogs and whatever. So, to our delight we report that one of the trees down there has become a bee tree, with its very own bee colony. It is right above the fairy garden so ‘bee’ a bit careful if you are there. Paul, our local bee expert will be monitoring the bees as they develop their colony.

The drought may actually have been good for our wild flowers. See how the flowers round the dome have come on over July and August. You may not have noticed this magnificent display down by the Langley pond.

Where they are guarded over by various moorhens and this rather beautiful mallard.

Enjoy the rest of the holiday time!

Seeds of Hope

‘Is that Mr McGregor?’ said the little tot to his mum as they spied my straw hat among the trees in the orchard. ‘Maybe’, I replied, and went on to show the toddler the raspberries and blackberries almost ready to be picked. I enjoy this sort of moment. It is often the first time these children experience where fruit comes from.

The massive heat of the past week will have made us us all too aware of climate change and the wider environmental crisis and it is so easy to feel overwhelmed by it all. There seems to be nothing that us ordinary people can do. It seems to go so deep and ask changes of us that we don’t want to bear. How do we even start to do something?

I have come to think that the heart of it all lies in our relationship with the natural world. If we can learn to love nature and feel our impact on it, then we will change inside. And that will be a new day. Also, if we can combine together in local areas to care for nature around us, that could build community life and give us a common purpose. I sense that happening here in Emersons Green as more and more people express their support for our work. This year’s festival, for example, was a gigantic work of cooperation, with loads of people volunteering time and energy to make it happen.

This sort of thinking about our relationship with the natural world lies behind all our work in Emersons Green including the festival, the gardening for wildlife open day, Green Lane, the community orchard, the wildlife garden and the dome. Of course it is all small beer in terms of the global need. But what if every neighbourhood did it? Everywhere. Perhaps humanity could change its path and embrace a truly good future? That is the hope that lies behind a new movement just being launched called ‘Neighbourhoods for the Earth’. Emersons Green is a founder member. We shall see if it takes off.

One of our regular toddler volunteers, Ben, was exploring the grass in the orchard this week. He enjoyed running his fingers up the grass head and collecting the seeds. We thought about those little seeds and how they might spread. I guess our work in the park is a bit like one of those seeds.

Three Greens Festival June 18th – programme now published

This Saturday sees the return of The Three Greens Festival in Emersons Green Park! We look forward to seeing you there. We have a whole set of fascinating events and activities lined up for you throughout the day all designed to help Emersons Green and Lyde Green celebrate our relationship with the Earth. The programme is published and available for you to download here.

The day begins, as previously, with a parade from the Langley Arms. Aim to get there for 9.30am so you can collect some flowers and make headdresses. The parade will set off at 10am going on a much shorter route this year including Green Lane (or the parallel path for those with pushchairs) and will end at the new willow dome in the park.

Returning to the main tent we will be met by the Brigstowe Village Band, all dressed up in their marvellous rural costumes and complete with their hobby horse.

Various events will leave from reception (opposite the main tent) at 10.30am including

Bird Walk with Ed Drewitt – introducing the birds that share the park with us (30 mins).

Weaving with Nature with Christine Griffiths – learn to make beautiful things from natural resources.

Natural sculpture with Jim and Nick – encounter the natural world in the deep and dark Green Lane. This session will run all day. Feel free to drop in.

Then at 11am meet Kino at reception and walk to Green lane for one of the most fascinating experiences you have ever seen. Whispering Woods will perform a set that includes aerial acrobatics, music and a Scottish story called Tamlin.

Back at the main tent at 11.30am join Mangotsfield School Choir as they raise the roof for us and celebrate on the theme of the festival.

at 11.30am and again at 12.30pm meet at reception and join Ed Drewitt for a Bug Hunt on Emersons Green Common, complete with sweep nets and trays and learn to identify some of the insects that lives among the flowers and grasses.

At 1pm we welcome Bristol European Jazz Ensemble to the main tent. Enjoy your lunch from our lovely food stalls as you listen to some truly extraordinary music with an international flavour.

Alternatively if you are feeling active at 12.30pm you might like to try your hand at Circus Skills. World Jungle will be with us offering a workshop in the area next to the Junior playground. (Workshop repeats at 2.30pm)

In case you missed it the first time Whispering Woods performance will repeat at 2pm. Meet at reception.

Join Kate and friends for a community litter pick, around the park and neighbourhood at 2pm.

Ed’s last session at 2.30pm will be called Signs of Wildlife and will show how you can detect some of the various plants and creatures who use the park.

All day long there will be displays of various sorts around the park especially in the smaller tent and the formal garden including craft stalls and children’s activities. Don’t forget to check out the competition entries (see here for details and entry form) in the library and other activities there. A competition prizegiving will take place at 3.45pm in the main tent. Toilets are available all day until 4pm in the Village Hall.

When you have enjoyed the day outside and feel like a moment of quiet reflection, what better way than to join us in the Village Hall at 7.30pm for an evening of wonderful music on guitar, flute and voice from Francisco Correa and Emily Andrews. Cantare is a paid for event see here for more details.

This day is brought to you by Friends of Emersons Green Park with help from many others. Please invite your friends and family. It is set to be a great day!

Ideas for our gardens – Garden Open Day

Is there anything more majestic than this old oak that presides over our orchard?

Human beings are coming to see the importance of nature and to sense our part of it all.

With that in mind, we are pleased to announce our Gardening for Wildlife Garden Open day on June 4th when there will be a number of gardens in the area open to visitors. Each of the gardens is deliberately doing something special for nature. They are not trying to be perfect gardens or even tidy gardens, but our hope is to inspire others with new ideas about what can be done in relation to nature. Added together gardens make up a huge area of land with enormous potential for biodiversity. Details of the day in this poster and the associated map here.

This will be followed closely by our Three Greens Festival on June 18th, which is packed with really interesting events. Go bug hunting with Ed Drewitt, practice your circus skills, watch the Whispering Wood Folk as they hang from trees and enchant us with tales, hear local children sing, meet the Hobby Horse, encounter Jazz from different traditions, settle down to an evening concert of the finest music. All of this and more at this year’s festival. More details to follow. Our Friends of Emersons Green Park Facebook group will also be highlighting the contributors. Posters for the festival are now available. Please download it from here and spread the word.

Meanwhile don’t forget the orchard where all the fruit is soon to emerge. The bees tell me that the raspberries will soon be ready.

A beautiful day today heralds the official start of Spring.

This weekend is known as the Spring Equinox, when almost everywhere round the world shares an equal length of day and night.

This weekend also marks the midpoint between deepest, darkest December and Midsummer, when, this year, we will be holding our Three Greens Festival. Hooray! We have an exciting line-up emerging for our festival this year and we will be giving some sneak previews here and on our Facebook Group as we count down to festival day on June 18th.

A group of us spent an intriguing couple of hours yesterday with the naturalist, Ed Drewitt exploring Green Lane. Some people have called it Muddy Lane in the past and with good reason!  We were consulting Ed on how to increase biodiversity in the lane and were pleased that two Town Councillors were with us on the day, because they manage this land and can give permission for any work.  We came up with some great ideas and I will share more when we have received Ed’s report.

We also experienced a very unusual event a few weeks ago with the artist Nick Hand at Centrespace in Bristol. Nick is a specialist in Letterpress printing and has machines, whose design dates right back to the 1400s and the Gutenberg Press. We made some lovely prints, like this one, some of which will find their way into a new A-Z of the local area that Nick is putting together.

Walk around the park today and you may hear the woodpecker drumming, or see the little egret wading around in the Langley pond. You might spot the blue flash of the Kingfisher, see a bullfinch near the new wildlife garden or find tadpoles in the slack water. Herons have been spotted again at Lyde Green Lake and so many of  the plants are just coming into leaf – so breathe deep and feel the Spring.