New season, new you

Sunday 15th April – Sunday 13th May 10am

The autumn leaves have all blown away and Spring is here. Our outdoor gym is waiting for you!  Whether you are completely new to gym exercise or want to improve your training, come along for some free advice from Jodie. These sessions will be running for the next 5 weeks, more to follow.

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More Meadow Flowers for Chinbrook Meadows

Sometimes it feels like this winter is never going to end, just when you think the sun is going to break through, down comes another bucket load of rain. However, in a few weeks the soggy stretches of grassland around the park  will show signs of growth, featuring a variety of meadow flowers. Across the city there is a lot going on to increase the potential, schemes such as the new #wildflowersforlondoners which has been started by London National Park City,  aims to nurture the rich diversity of our urban wildlife.

 

meadow flowers 2014

 

 

 

 

Cow parsley in 2016 and (right) riverside meadow 2014, Chinbrook Meadows

 

 

FOCM has been working on a small strip of meadow around the Peace Garden. We are trying to encourage a greater diversity of plants here. The first job was to clear some areas and rake over less thickly grassed sections so that we had bare earth to plant in. In Autumn 2017 we scattered some wildflower mix, suitable for clay soils (EM4), onto these prepared areas and raked the seeds in.

In March this year we bought some plug plants; ragged robin, meadowsweet, oxeye daisy and cowslip, and have added them to the cleared areas.

We will be watching carefully as the season progresses, hoping to see some new plants emerging to liven up this meadow.

clean up 24061706

In spring and summer, volunteers will work along the river bank-side as usual, clearing some of the nettles and brambles to allow other plants some air space. However we don’t want to eradicate them completely, as nettle is a haven for insect life too, seen here covered in Peacock butterfly caterpillars in the park last year.

Orchard Pruning and Bundle Making

We got all twenty of our maturing Chinbrook Meadows apple trees pruned today with the help of our London Orchard Project mentor, Alona.

      

The trees are looking healthy and strong. All four varieties; James Grieve, Spartan, Charles Ross and Egremont Russet are doing well with good buds forming for the year ahead. We hope to have plenty to admire and enjoy on our Apple Day in October.

Eddie showed us how to use sisal with slip knots to gather our branch bundles together neatly when we had finished.

 

Who’s wassailing this winter?

In various corners of the borough the ancient tradition of wassailing is being carried out this winter.

                               

The revelry can take a variety of forms but it is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our apple trees. Following the successful Apple Day in October, FOCM joined ChART and Chinbrook Community Orchard, to organise a Wassail in the community orchard, which is sited in the Chinbrook Meadows Allotments, Marvels Lane. We are indebted to the Orchard Project who have supported us and helped bring together the two neighbouring orchard volunteer groups to develop these shared events.

Fowlers Molly Dancers, the Grove Park Singers and local children helped make it a great event.  We started with hot soup to warm everyone on the chilly afternoon. The children made crowns (traditionally a Wassail king and queen would lead the revelers around the trees) and noise making instruments (used to “wake up” the trees). We processed with lots of noise to the apple trees and dipped robin-shaped toast in cider which we the hung on the trees while we listened to the Wassailing songs of the Grove Park Singers.

The community orchard has a wonderful collection of familiar and less well known varieties of apples and other fruit trees that were planted in 1991-2.  Look out for more orchard events to come, both in Chinbrook Meadows and the Chinbrook allotments.

      

 

Ready for Action

Mrs Rita Barnes, founder member of FOCM, cut the ribbon to launch our new outdoor gym and we were joined by Year 8 girls from Haberdasher’s Aske’s Knights Academy  to celebrate and try out the new equipment.

Students and adults soon got involved and found the equipment could be as challenging as you make it, everyone can work at their own pace.

Using cardio power to boost your phone charge gives extra incentive to put in more effort to your training

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big thanks to Tescos Bags of Help and London Marathon Charitable Trust for funding our new gym, we are delighted with it.