Friday, 18 September 2015

Nature's Gym volunteers work wonders

Weather plays an important part when there is gardening to do so it was a great relief that today, 17h September 2015, turned out dry, relatively warm and with some sun. Nature’s Gym volunteers and staff returned to Mayow Park and there must have been 15 people in total. 

As always there was more than plenty to do. Most of the work was based at the Triangle fruit and herb beds but a few volunteers worked at the orchard and bug hotel.

The orchard saw a team removing weeds round the base of the trees and adding a layer of mulch to suppress weeds and look after the tree roots. 

The bug hotel in the nearby woodland had more woody material added to the pallets to create a cosy environment for our park invertebrates ahead of the winter. Would it be cosy enough to attract a hedgehog or two?  

One of the volunteers did a grand job of cutting down the mini wild flower meadow with shears and we plan to sow more wild flowers in late autumn in the hope of a colourful display next spring and summer.

In the Triangle, the hedgerow round the fruit garden had become untidy with branches stretching over the woodchip path, hindering movement. This has now been pruned. The woodchip path has been raked in an effort to remove weeds growing in it. And the herb bed has had serious attention to remove bindweed which is gradually taking over available bare earth.

hedgerow pruned  to allow access to the path

Richard raking the woodchip path

Meet Gary and Gary

All this work generates plenty of garden waste. Glendale’s cleansing team were able to assist by taking it away.

Some of the team
As always these sessions are not only about serious gardening. 
There is time to relax and catch up on news during tea/ lunch break. 

And home time means packing tools back in the van.
Packing up time
The impact of all this work should be clearly visible to all. The Friends of Mayow Park are very grateful for the regular support we receive from Nature’s Gym volunteers.
This photo was taken the following day.


Looking after the cricket square in Mayow Park

Cricket has made a come-back in Lewisham. Two of its parks, Mayow Park and Hilly Fields, have cricket squares.  Special care is necessary to maintain the squares to a high standard for the cricketers. One man who knows a lot about taking care of these sites is Luke Rayment and I had the good fortune to interview him about his work in mid-September 2015. 

Luke has worked for Glendale Lewisham Grounds Management since 2010 as their cricket groundsman and you may spot him working on site during the cricket season.

Luke maintains the cricket squares in both parks in readiness for weekly matches. His role includes cutting the grass to a specified height, rolling the wickets with a roller machine and marking out the lines in white paint.  He also carries out repairs to the wicket which involves spreading loam and levelling out the site each week. 

Prior to working for Glendale, Luke worked for 11 years to maintain the greens at a golf course. During that time he studied part-time at Hadlow College near Tunbridge Wells for his NVQ2 with training in sports turf management. He enjoyed his work but wanted to move on for his personal professional development.  

When he first started with Glendale he worked alongside two very experienced groundsmen and learned a lot from them. He has attended a number of other courses including Level 1 and Level 2 Foundation training through the English Cricket Board (ECB) where he improved his skills to maintain a cricket square. 

He finds this work very satisfying particularly when he can see the impact he makes on the cricket square. He appreciates the positive feedback he receives from Glendale Lewisham managers, one of whom is a cricket fan.  Park users also show their interest with comments about cricket in Mayow Park and compliments about Luke’s work.

Occasionally he is disappointed by thoughtless behaviour from the public, particularly when people walk across the cricket square, play football and other activities which cause damage. They are not aware of the effort and care that goes into maintaining the site. Fortunately in Mayow Park this is rare.

Luke’s work in our park is special and his satisfaction with what he does is wonderful. Now I know why he always looks cheerful. Thank you, Luke. 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

meadow grass cut 19th August 2015

I meant to post this a couple of weeks ago. On 19th August I was hurrying through the park on my way to catch a train but stopped briefly to take two photos of a tractor cutting the long grass in the meadow. It gives Mayow Park a rural feel I think.  I believe the grass in the meadow won't be cut again until spring 2016.

early September and back to school

The park has been very busy throughout the summer holidays, particularly on sunny days. Many families with children of all ages, regular dog walkers, joggers, cricketers and others were out enjoying our local green space. On all but the wettest days there were  people in the park. Glendale cleansing team came daily to empty bins and pick up as much litter as they could see. The cricket square continued to be maintained by Luke from Glendale and some of the cricketers.  The number of children using the park during the week will now reduce rapidly as they go back to school.

The school summer holidays ended with a number of days with seriously heavy rain and the grass just kept on growing. So it was great to see one of the park maintenance people from Glendale today (2nd September 2015) busily strimming the grass verges to keep them tidy and well maintained. I spoke to the man in the photo and he takes pride in his work. It can be a lonely job going round the park strimming the grass edges so if you see him, smile and say 'thank you for helping to keep the park looking good'.