Bug hotel part 1

We put together the structure for our bug hotel this weekend.

The luxury accommodation for our local creepy crawlies is made from 3 palettes, some left over fencing and a large number of screws and nails.

Over the next couple of evenings this week we’ll give the hotel a lick of paint and start to prepare the logs that will go in it. The plan is to put the structure on the site on Sunday 20th May.

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The first plants are in

The first set of plants were put in the ground on 22 April. They are looking really great and they all appear to have taken well in their first couple of weeks.20180422_191252

We still have a few gaps so we are going to get some more plants next week to fill the remaining spaces. The money for the plants has been kindly donated by local residents and also Mark Rath Estate Agents. See below for how you can help.

We have also purposefully left a gap on the site so that we can build a bug hotel to encourage more wildlife. The lovely people at Wokingham in Bloom previously built a similar one down by the Pavillions, however with the new developments in town this will soon be fenced off. The team have rescued the Bug Hotel sign that was on the Pavillions site there and they will be donating it to our garden.

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How you can help

The next big job is to build a bug hotel. If you are an amateur carpenter or are just keen to help with its construction then please get in touch. We are also on the look out for some suitable materials, so any old logs (hard wood is best), treated timber, old clay pots etc are very welcome. We want it to look like one of the nicer bug hotels so something purpose built rather than a collection of pallets put on top of each other. We plan to build the bug hotel on the weekend of the 13th May from 10am.

If you would like to help with the donations towards plants then please get in touch. Any amount of donation is welcome. We have a good relationship with Henry Street Nursery so it is better value if we receive donations and then purchase on your behalf. We can then also purchase several of the same plant by pooling our money.

Donations in the form of plants are also welcome but we have some restrictions on what we can have, e.g. they can’t grow over 1 metre high, need to be suitable for the conditions, need to be fairly low maintenance and hardy. If you have something in mind then please get in contact with us and we’ll take a look.

 

 

 

 

 

We have plants

We’ve just popped into the Henry Street Garden Centre and picked up a car load of plants.

The management at Henry Street gave us some great advice and a good deal on the plants we selected.

We don’t think we have enough yet so we’ll plant what we have and then see what else we need.

Next job is to get them in the soil!

Day 2 done

Today saw our second session on the community garden and it was another successful one. Six locals turned over the soil, put down a weed-proof membrane and covered the area in wood chips.

The wood chips were kindly donated by the lovely people at St Paul’s church and we shovelled and transported several tubs of them in the early afternoon.

We are now ready to get some plants. The plan is to purchase some on Saturday (21st April) morning and then plant them on Saturday (21st) and Sunday (22nd).

We love a good before and after photo so here is this week’s series…

Before

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After

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Stage 1 complete

Despite the drizzle 10 residents of Gipsy Lane got their hands dirty on Sunday 8th April 2018 to transform the weed-ridden verge into an area almost ready for planting.

The task was to pull out all the weeds, turnover the soil and put in some small posts. I’m pleased to say that in 5 hours we were done.

Before

After

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The soil was better than expected

As we stuck in our first spade we were delighted to find that the soil was nice rich loam. We were expecting that the soil to be heavily compacted and more like clay. It was a nice surprise!

During the dig we were very careful in case there were any low lying utilities in there. Our risk assessment said we should be fine but we were very careful nonetheless. Fortunately we found nothing on the site.

The next steps

We will meet up again on Sunday 15 April at 10am. During this session we will turn over the soil again and pick out any additional weeds that have grown.

A weed proof membrane will then be put over the site to suppress the weeds further.

As a team we decided that further compost or sand would not really be needed as the soil looked good. We will therefore save the donations that we have had towards compost and put it towards the plants.

Unexpected find

We didn’t expect to find anything in the soil so this 1959 Halfpenny was a nice surprise.

Let’s get digging!

After weeks of lots of admin we have been given the go ahead to create the Community Garden! Woo hoo!

Here is our plan…

Day 1 – 8th April 2018 10:00am – Turning over the soil

On day 1 we need to dig out all of the existing grass and weeds, put in some wooden posts to mark out the edge of the garden and aerate the soil. We are unable to use any machines on the site due to the potential of utilities underneath the site and so the job is going to require a lot of manual labour.

How you can help

  • Do you have a brown bin that you could donate some space in? We’re going to have a lot of green waste to get rid of and knowing we can use some brown bins will save us a trip to the tip.
  • People to dig, the more hands the better, please bring your tool of choice 🙂
  • Help putting in the posts, We think we need to put in about 20 posts. These have been kindly donated by one of the residents on the lane.

Please contact us if you can help with any of these requests

The amount of time this will take depends on how many people are around to help. If you can’t make 10am but are available later in the day please still let us know – we might be very grateful for a tag team to take over in the afternoon!

Day 2 – 15th April 2018 10:00am – Condition the soil – Add compost and sand

We’re going to have another day of conditioning the soil on the 15 April. Full details of what we need to do will be posted on here after the 8 April

How you can help

Donate a bag of sand compost (we’ll confirm what we need once we have turned over the soil on the 8 April.)

Provide more labour!

Thank you so much for everyone’s support to date. Let’s get digging!

Overwhelmingly positive

The feedback so far on the idea of adopting the piece of land has been overwhelmingly positive by the local residents.

A total of 20 households on Gipsy Lane have given their support and many with a promise to help dig, to keep the site watered and weeded or to donate plants.

Those who were available on Wednesday 21 March met in the Duke’s Head to talk through the next steps for the project and together we made some decisions on the approach that we would take.

The core principles are:

  • Plant shrubs and plants that give an interest all year round.
  • Have a patch that can be used for seasonal plants but not the whole site. This will keep maintenance low and allow for annual variation.
  • Initially condition the soil and then have a weed proof membrane and cover the area with wood chip. There are quite a lot of perennial weeds that will need pulling out and suppressing.
  • Protect the site with some low posts to prevent vehicles accidentally driving on to the site.

One of the residents has researched plants that would be suitable for the sheltared shady garden and these will be posted on here soon.

The next big milestone is to get the licence to plant approved. We should hear more on that by the end of the week.

Thank you everyone for your support.