We had a great day romping around the nature reserve today. We had an enthusiastic gaggle of kids, most of whom mastered the art of lighting a fire in a fire bowl using a fire striker. This takes determination and a bit of patience. Sometimes it takes me a few minutes to get it right! So it was great that most of the kids got there in the end. We cooked our lunch on the campfire, made some Elder bead necklaces and generally got a bit muddy and scruffy. Our home made bread was even flavoured with wild garlic leaves picked on site.
Welcome Spring (we hope it’s finally here to stay)…
Welcome all to the nature reserve; human, flora, fauna!
The mosaic welcome sign is up, made from recycled tile, including the letters which are formed of tiny pieces of Victorian china that surface with every dig into the bank of the nectar garden. Sunday was our monthly workday at the reserve. I got stuck into the nectar garden, cutting back a lot of dead perennial structure, digging in seeds and sowing some more with the help of Ben and Lara. I remove some of the alkanet and buttercup but do leave some as they are important nectar forage in the coming weeks. It’s a fine balance, keeping these vigorous natives in check so we have space for other flowers too. I noticed gladly that the patch of nettles that I transplanted from the woodland have taken and are sprouting new growth under the Elder shrub.
The rest of the volunteers worked around the main bit of the site, during the tea break Jeanne spotted a brave yellow brimstone butterfly fluttering along the railway. I hope it found what it was looking for on one of the first Spring-like days in a while.
During 2012 we collaborated with Community by Design to deliver a series of workshops to Camden Primary schools on the theme of Air Quality. Different workshops were designed for each of the schools involved. One of the longer programmes was an animation workshop led by Nina Gebauer and animator Bunny Schendler at Fitzjohn’s Primary, Hampstead. The children produced this fantastic animated film, which you can see at Vimeo.
Today we were at City Hall to speak to representatives of 7 London Boroughs as the programme is now being rolled out across London. We had some great feedback on the work we presented.
A few families have been in touch enquiring about the toddler group. We aren’t able to run the sessions at the moment but it’s great to get feedback that people are keen. We will resume the sessions in early September once school is back.
Jeanne planted a little apricot tree, which was lovingly grown from seed at the Kentish Town City Farm, in a great sunny spot in the Nectar Garden on our last session. We have also been enjoying spotting bumblebees that already frequent the nature reserve. It’s nice to know that there will be even more food for them in the future, :
Monday was our second week of developing our Nectar Garden at Mortimer Terrace along with a small but dedicated group of local participants. We meet every Monday and in the next few weeks we will be planting and welcoming lots of pollinating insects.
Before we started the sun drenched bank had become overrun with green alkanet, creeping buttercup, burdock and bramble – all good nectar plants but not a good spread of flowering through the seasons. And the nature reserve is covered in these already, so we think we can greatly improve on the diversity in this spot.
And during the second session we’d got to grips with a lot of the weeds. We have left some plants in place; a big clump of lovage, horseradish, lavender, rosemary, yarrow, a teasel. These are the last survivors of the medicinal herb garden that was planted and looked after 10 years ago by Matti: