We have some exciting plans for our Church garden for this year. They say Winter is the time gardners plan, and we have been!
If you would like to help out with one of our projects, please get in touch with one of the team for details. Any help is appreciated, whether it is joining our weekly garden team or just popping in for an hour or two to help with a specific project.
No Mow Areas - summer meadows etc
Last year we had a number of no mow areas. It was lovely to see some wild flowers coming up, and was lovely to see the butterflies over the graveyard.
However, the areas looked untidy, especially at the start of the growing season. By marking out the no mow area we are showing that something is happening here AND also giving a visual clue not to mow here. Last year we used stakes & strings to mark the areas, but they were untidy and would get knocked over or blown over. As of January some of the no mow areas have been marked out by twigs, this will be replaced by some better edging (once we've worked out to do this, and acquired a suitable source of materials to use - willow or hazel are good for this type of use). Do we have a low woven fence or can we make use of some form of woven hoops edging? To find out more see our Meadow page
Improving the hedge at the back of St John's
We have trimmed the beech hedge and tidied along the fence at the back of at the back of the graveyard. Like at the front of church, we are taking care to ensure we keep the brambles under control.
One of our aims was to have a wild life corridor from the A30 to the school - for insects, amphibians and small mammals. This is going along the fence, and will joing up the wild area between St John's and the neighbouring garage.
We are creating a hibernacula which is a shelter for invertibrates and small animals, this is a layer of sticks, compost and leafs mould at the back - this will provide an area for wild life at the back. See our Hibernacula page for details. We will then have an area of long tussocky grass in front of it. This will be marked out with some edging, like the other now mow areas.
The hedge at the front of St John's
For so long, we have talked as a Church about restoring the hedge along the front of St John's. This is a big project, and we hope that this year will be the right time. The best time to plant new plants will be the autumn, so we have time to plan! Unfortunately this is a big piece of work (and is more that our small team of volunteers can do with out help).
We researched the best time to prune the existing heathy bits of beech hedge - did you know you trim small amounts in the Autumn, and a more drastic prune is better in February.
Our hedge is health at one end, with a big dead bit in the middle. We have been removing brambles and clearing under the base of the hedge, to ensure the beech stays healthy. Whilst brambles are a good source of food, with flowers and fruit feeding many insects and birds, we are not planning to remove all the plants at St John's, but try and keep them better under control, and these that form the hedge at the front we hope to be able to replace with a healthy hedge.
We have started by pruning the hedge, and pulling out some of the dead plants, the brambles and the rubbish. We get a suprising amount of rubbish here!