March 15th 2018 Work Party
Visitors – Area Representative of the British Pterodological Association.
Weather permitting Mr Peter Blake will be visiting from Norwich. We hope that he will be able to give us the benefit of his knowledge of the types of ferns we might aim to plant, and their best positions. He will also then be in a position to talk about our plans and ambitions to other members of the BPS .
Garden Development – some necessary re-scheduling
Publication of this Notice has been delayed due to unavoidable last minute adjustments to our Work Schedules, which will affect this coming Thursday 15th March 2018, and the following two months too.
There are a few reasons for this:
- Rabbits have been nibbling/destroying some of the plants/trees we have recently planted.
- We have to prevent that happening before we start planting tender plants.
- Sarah, our Garden Designer, will be absent until 21st April and we will not therefore be able to place the ‘Big April Order’ for the remainder of the plants on the Planting List, until she returns.
- Sarah needs to be present to direct planting operations.
A delay in the next round of planting from April to May 2018 offers perceived benefits.
- Sweet new grass will have started growing and (we are told on good authority) rabbits prefer grass to nursery grown plants.
- A delay of planting by one month (to May 2018) will enable the Maydencroft mechanical digger to undertake scheduled 2 x week tasks (from 9th – 20th April) without the earlier concerns we had of interference with the parallel work of the volunteers on the planting programme.
- The mechanical digger is scheduled to reduce (i.e. lower) some planting beds; undertake further spoil removal from the rockwork; extend earlier excavation of paths and earthworks.
- The mechanical digger will also lift the tufa rocks from the central planting bed in the dell, to be stored for future use, and also remove rocks dropped by vandals in the dropping well basin.
- By synchronising Work Party activities with the work of the mechanical digger, volunteers will have more time to prepare new beds for planting before Sarah’s return, and before the purchase of the next tranche of plants.
Task 1 – Rabbit Protection
(Contractors are reducing the rabbit population for us).
We have to double-check that all the recently planted trees/shrubs are protected either by plastic tubes or by chicken wire.
Plastic tubes should be buried in the ground by approx. 1″- 2″ so that rabbits cannot push them aside.
Chicken wire should ideally be pegged in triangles with approx 4″ gap between the wire and the plant, to stop rabbits nibbling through the wire.
Task 2 – Weeding existing planting beds
This is a continuation of the work that Sarah and her gardening team have been undertaking in recent months. If we have a bonfire nettles can be burnt.
Task 3 – Weeding newly planted trees and whips
As rabbit protection is checked/improved for each plant, (see Task 1 above) a start needs to be made to clearing grass and weeds (including ragwort) from an an area of approx. 12″ diameter around each plant, which cleared space should then be maintained on an ongoing basis.
Task 4 – Site Clearance – Bonfire
If the Weather is suitable we will have a bonfire.
This will be the first step towards site clearance in preparation for the Open day on June 17th 2018. There are fallen branches laying around the site, and nettles to be burned as they are dug up. Mulching Cage No. 1 also needs to be opened and sorted to remove material that should be burned.
Task 5 – Site Clearance – leaf collection and mulching cages
If the weather is suitable we will have another go at lifting more autumn leaves from the paths with the Leaf Blower and with rakes, and start to fill the new Mulching Cage No. 2
Task 6 – Excavation
Depending on resources available, we will continue to expose the brick walls at the North end of the site, in preparation for the April arrival of the Maydencroft digger.
We will also continue to trace the direction of the path at the top of the steps on the South side.
Other Future Planned Activities.
Metal Detector – Tony Rook
Our training day with Tony was postponed because of inclement weather.
We will meet at 10 am at The Fernery on Thursday 15th March 2018. The leaders will expect to be on site from 9.30 am to get the tools ready, so if you are an ‘early bird’ and can help, please do so.
As mentioned above, we are expecting visitors from the British Pteridological Society.
All team members should have good quality garden gloves and wear strong boots, and bring a hot drink for elevenses. We will provide small hand tools for general use.
For newcomers, the Fernery can be found at the top end of North Ride on the Danesbury Estate, AL6 9RD. For more details please go to ‘Where We Are‘ tab at the top of the page.
STOP PRESS – Bad Weather Forecast
The long range weather forecast for Thursday is bad – very heavy rain is expected.
Common sense will come into play, as the site might get too dangerous and work will be abandoned.