Autumn Gold

What a wet September and October with no signs of let up in the rain. Yet Autumn still comes and with it the magnificent colours in the park.

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The old oak near the library continues to delight and this year it has a particularly interesting bracket fungus in its hollowed out middle. I read that such fungi do not normally damage the living wood of a tree, but feed on the dead middle known as the heartwood.

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For those who could not be there, our AGM was a delightful affair with gorgeous food and great company. We even had time for some discussions about the park! Here are some minutes if you would like to check the detail. Highlight for me was the decision to set up a local naturalists group for young and old, exploring wildlife in the local area. If you would like to help organise this, or contribute to it in any way, please let us know.

They say that nature is red in tooth and claw – well here is a living example, taken from my garden. The sparrow hawk had helped himself to a pigeon and stayed on our garden table for about ten minutes making sure of the best meat.

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Other things that may be of interest are that we will shortly have an information board for the orchard and several new benches are to be installed in the park.

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Many thanks also to Venetia for our new logo. Here it is.  Enjoy the season.

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More trees anyone

autumnAs the leaves begin to fall and we are treated to those rich autumn colours in the park, so we recognise that the trees are entering their dormant phase and it will soon be time when new  trees can be planted. We shall be putting some new apple trees in the orchard this year. They are smaller ones where the fruit can be easily reached and which I hope might be less damaged by picking.

I also wonder whether there are other areas of the park that would benefit from more trees. The Woodland Trust are hoping to plant a million trees across the UK this year and looking for local people to identify suitable sites. I wondered, for example, whether the section running down to the library might be suitable (pictured here)?

wood

It feels slightly empty and sterile at the moment, at least to my way of thinking. Let me know what you think. I also thought about the possibility of trees on Lyde Green Common. I am not sure if that would be welcomed by local people or possible legally, but the question seems worth asking.

There is a debate about this whole process of tree planting. Some say that simply letting trees grow as part of ‘rewilding’ is a better way. We experienced that in the park a few years back, when a whole forest was growing in the wilder side of the park. No one had planted anything. It just happened. The council eventually cut it back on the orders of a government inspector, who thought it would impede the flood protection properties of the park’s streams and ponds.

I am not sure that the section of the park pictured above would rewild easily, or that the process would be welcomed by the public, so tree planting may be the best first proposal.

Also please note that Friends of Emersons Green Park are holding our first AGM this year on October 21st at 7pm in the Jefferies Room of the Village Hall. It will take the form of a Harvest Supper on a bring and share basis. You are most welcome to come.  We will be talking about ideas for the group’s activities in the coming year. Please let us know through the contact form on this website that you plan to attend so we can coordinate food and make sure there is enough space.

Orchard Delights

It has been very good to hear so many appreciative comments about the orchard this year. The wild flowers have clearly been a highlight and much of the fruit has been picked.

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There has been a bit of a struggle in regard to the apples. A tree was damaged by climbing and some fruit obviously wasted. I tried out the idea of an apple sharing day and set it for Sept 15th when at least some of the fruit would have been ripe, but most of the apples were taken well before this., so I am cancelling that. My guess is that the idea of an apple sharing day will not quite work in such a public space. Plans for the future are to immediately remove all the apples from any tree that is being damaged and to plant some smaller apples trees where people can reach the fruit without climbing.

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Just now there are some nice thornless blackberries and yellow raspberries ready to take. We are currently working on an information board for the orchard which will say more about what the orchard is for, how to use it and when to expect each fruit to be ripe.

Next week on Wednesday (11th Sept) we have an orchard working party at 10am to 12noon. Please come if you can. We shall be preparing to sow more wild flowers, shifting compost, preparing to plant new apple trees and sharing out any remaining apples.

Finally, regarding the park in general, I am sorry to see trolleys in the park again. I am told that they are being used to light fires of plastic things. Something to do with smelling the fumes. Extraordinary!

News of our upcoming AGM shortly.

Beautiful common things

It is sweltering today and the park feels like a furnace to walk through. Many will be away on holiday, but for those who are about, here are a few lovely things I saw today.

bindweed

I guess bindweed is hated by most, especially when it is in the garden or the allotment. But now is its moment to become truly beautiful and it is all over the wilder parts of the park.

The same goes for the wood pigeon. The pigeons in Dibden Lane allotment used to eat small cabbage plants within hours of them being put out.  So they were not best loved. But actually they are rather beautiful. This one was enjoying the morning sunshine.

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Jim at South Glos asked us to keep an eye out for our ash trees, because of the threat of ash die back disease which is currently sweeping the country. We have some amazing trees, some of which will be very old. I have identified fifty one ash trees from within the park. These ones are near the orchard and may be some of the oldest.

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As yet, and as far as my untrained eye can tell, there is little sign of the disease in our park, but, sadly, this is unlikely to remain the case. We can expect to lose many of them, starting with the youngest saplings. So we should enjoy them while we can!

There is also a disease on our horse chestnuts near the Langley. Thanks to Pete for pointing this out. I think it is leaf miner disease, which, although it may make for smaller conkers, will not effect the tree in the long term.

That’s all for now. Have a good holiday season. I think I just spotted the first ripe blackberry…

Come and get it

Hi everyone and welcome to the new members who joined at this year’s festival.

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Here is some news about the orchard and surrounds.  The cubs have been busy constructing this ‘bug hotel’, designed as a habitat for insects, who just love decaying wood. So it is really a pile of different types of wood! The children are already showing considerable interest spurred on by Ed Drewitts’ fascinating insect sweep at this year’s festival of nature.

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We have also been clearing and sowing wild flowers to attract insects and, despite the drought, you  will see that we have had some success.

We have a work party every month just for a couple of hours and we would be very pleased to have some more members. Here is the group that met this Wednesday – at coffee break.

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We spent our time this week clearing grass away from the fruit, so everyone could see it and get to it.

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The gooseberries are ready to pick, so feel free and the raspberries are just coming.

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Anyone guess what this is? We hope it will become a great tree. Need a clue? Here we go round…

We hope you like the orchard. Its aim is not to be a tightly managed space like a home garden or allotment, but to be what has been called a ‘Forest garden’ – that is semi-wild, growing an abundance of fruit of all sorts with minimal maintenance and maximum interest for wildlife. Our next work party is on Sat July 13th at 10am. Please join us if you can.

Also to say that next Monday 24th June the management committee for the Friends of Emersons Green Park are meeting. So it is a good moment to feed back any comments or suggestions you have about the park. You can do this via comments on this blogsite. Also if you would particularly like to attend the meeting, that would also be possible, so please ask.

Best wishes

Chris

 

Looking forward to the festival

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Emersons Green Festival of Nature is nearly upon us! It is on Saturday May 18th.
There will be much to enjoy. I gather Martin Brice is doing some bacon butties! Avon Wildlife Trust will be with us and the cubs will be making bug hotels. We will have a photographic display of 46 wild flowers to be found in the park as well as old maps of the area. If you have any memories of Emersons Green before the estate was built, we would love you to come and tell us your story.  Highlight of the day will be the visit of the naturalist Ed Drewitt, who this year will be helping us discover the insects in the park as well as other events discovering birds, trees and local history.

You can find the full programme here.

Please make sure to book for the bookable events so that we know how many are coming. We don’t want to turn anyone away.

Also please note that there is an orchard working party this Saturday May 11th at 10am. Come if you can. There is much to do in preparation for the festival.

 

Festival of Nature Programme now published

 

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Dear Friends,

Festival of Nature

I am delighted to report that this year’s Festival of Nature programme is now published and can be found here. The event is to be held on Saturday May 18th and includes several sessions with our local naturalist Ed Drewitt. Three of the programmed events need booking in advance.

This year we have a particular interest in local history and our relationship with nature. If you have any stories about the area from the old farming days, we would be delighted to hear them.  We also welcome Emerson’s Vets, Avon Wildlife Trust and the Cubs and Scouts. We will have some plants for sale including freshly grafted apple trees suitable for your garden as well as some food made from last year’s park produce. Proceeds to the Friends of Emersons Green Park. We look forward to seeing you on the day.

Also – you will see that our community orchard is well in bloom and all the new trees seem to have made it through the rather odd seasons we have been having.  The bare patch near Emersons Green Lane is being sown with wild flowers so we are hoping, if the weather is kind, that we shall have a beautiful, bee-friendly area shortly. It would be great if a few new people wanted to join us to help with orchard and are incorporating some week day work sessions to see if that helps. Our work parties this year are planned from 10am until 12 noon on these days

Wed Apr 24th
Sat May 11th
Wed June 19th
Sat July 13th
Wed Sept 11th
Sat Oct 12th