Next Meeting Date – VIP Special
The meeting on 19th October is special because Ann Macdonald is introducing us all to the new CEO of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, Rob Bridge, and the Director of Landscaping Nick Long.
a) they want to see what we have been up to in the Fernery, and
b) we want to show them!
I expect that Ann and I will show our visitors around the site, but hopefully they will be able to join us at elevenses and have the opportunity to chat with us all.
It is for all of us to encourage our visitors to continue to support the successful Partnership between the Borough Council and the Friends, so that we might set realistic targets and eventually reach mutually agreed goals.
Weather permitting, I will erect the gazebo with our table-top display so that our visitors can see where we have come from in such a short space of time.
It is of course a fact that we are at the time of year when the Fernery cannot be looking at its best: we are constantly battling with nettles which hold us back from making progress on further excavation work. Although we continue our strimming regime, we hope to persuade the Borough to help by applying a systemic nettles killer.
Beyond that we aim to continue the work of the very successful September 21st working party – see Report Work Party 17th August 2017.
Start Time and Place
We meet at the Fernery at the top end of North Ride, Welwyn, AL6 9RD starting at 10 a.m. Please note that team leaders and tools will be on site from 9 a.m for those who prefer to start earlier. Work continues until lunchtime and volunteers should wear strong boots, gardening gloves and bring a hot drink for refreshment. Tools will be provided.
Tasks for Thursday 19th October 2017
Strimming and leaf blowing: since the last meeting on 21st September 2017, small ad hoc groups of volunteers have been strimming to clear the site of nettles. At present this seems like a losing battle, but the purpose is to keep the site in a tidy state to make it more presentable to visitors and to make it safer for work parties to carry out excavation tasks.
Depending on the progress thus made, we might have more strimming to undertake and some leaf blowing to complete before some of the tasks below can safely commence.
We will adhere to the decision to maintain the North East part of the site undisturbed for wildlife.
Excavation – depending on resources available
- Continue exploring the direction of the top steps started in August.
- Continue excavating the decorated pebble wall and seek to find its direction.
- Continue excavation of the rock work in the gorge to seek the direction of the top path.
- Continue weeding the bedding areas.
- Dig out dead tree stumps – we will have a mattock available in the shed if we have a willing volunteer.
Stephen is expected to be missing this Thursday so we are suspending further work until he is once again available.
Water mains standpipe cabinet
Our cabinet was installed at our September (see the photographs) and Andrew has been working very hard since to make it more secure. We have had keys cut to hand out to all your Committee members/leaders, as well as for appropriate Borough Council representatives.
Andrew will be on hand to show you how we have already managed to store many hand tools in the shed to avoid the need for them to be stored in private garages, and to make them readily available on site for work party leaders. (Although the standpipe is secured, the hose reel has not yet been supplied and installed).
You are reminded that the Friends have financed the cost of the purchase and installation of the shed.
You all witnessed the re-installation of the straightened entrance poles at the September meeting (see the photos). You will be pleased to know that they are still standing!
Once again you are reminded that the costs of restoring the ironwork at the entrance is being funded by the Friends, from a generous (ring-fenced) private donation. But it has not yet been agreed with the Borough Council what the next stage of ironwork restoration should be.
Future Meeting Dates
You are reminded that it was agreed at the September meeting that in future we will meet twice a month, on the third Thursday for the work parties, as now, plus a meeting of the ‘Friends of the Fernery Garden‘ on the 1st Saturday each month, starting Saturday 4th November. All meetings will start in the Fernery at 10 a.m. and we will be seeking volunteers to stand by to help us get the Saturday meetings off to a successful start.
The November 2017 edition of the Welwyn Magazine will carry a Report from the Friends of Danesbury LNR which introduces the new Saturday Gardening meetings. The Magazine will also carry the dates of all future Thursday and Saturday meetings from now onwards, conveniently on the back-page ‘ Dates for Your Diary’.
Social Media – progress
Please develop the habit of having a look at our website, and FaceBook and Twitter pages from time to time. We are beginning to pick up useful contacts on the Twitter page and you too can follow selected fern specialists who are making contact with us, and help us build up our knowledge.
British Pteridological Society
Andrew still wants to hear from those of you who would like to join this Society and benefit from a joint membership under the Friends of Danesbury LNR banner. He will talk more about this with you this Thursday. There are useful BPS awards schemes running, but most seem to demand that bids are placed each year by the 1st November. So – if it is felt that we should be applying straight away, then we do need to get our skates on.
We look forward to a good turn-out on a calm and warm Thursday 19th October.
Please all wear your FOD (or other Friends Group’s) tabard, and carry your hard hats. We have spares available for those without – so no excuses!