Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Clearing the fruit area at the Triangle beds by Pippa

It seems the combination of weather events this year (excess rain followed by warm and dry weather) meant our currant and berry bushes were being heavily invaded by long grass, nettles, 'sticky buds' (also known as cleavers, Latin name Galium aparine) and the odd bramble and in fact when we started this clearing project the fruit bushes were really very hidden. 

As people stopped to say hello we explained what they were and many hadn't realised. Anyway it's pretty rewarding pulling up all that stuff (bar nettles, hate those, I always get stung) and gives you a feeling you are 'freeing' the good stuff. 

The currents and raspberries are already fruiting in small form on the plants so there should be a good crop for people to pick a few as they go past. 

The plum and apple trees look better too. The plum fruits suffer from 'pocket plum' and no longer form proper fruits. 
We cleared loads of 'weeds' the first session. A second session was needed to finish that job - by now I was crawling pretty much inside the fruit bushes as you get slightly obsessed with getting every last strand of grass out.
Alona then wheelbarrowed the good-quality compost we'd created in our bin in the park, and we started spreading it around the cleared beds. It looks really great now.

During these sessions I was very distracted by The Triangle looking stunning with Forget-me-nots (Myosotis) but really taken over by the 'sticky buds' so I couldn't resist clearing some of those out.  There's bindweed in there too though that's a big job for next time.

It was great to be back having a 'presence' in the park (Alona and I working at 2m apart was easy). People do always stop to ask questions and we can remind them about FOMP.

We even had our first FOMP Zoom meeting this week so the Friends certainly are still being active despite many of our planned activities having to be cancelled.  At least we got our new benches (from the Greening Fund) put in just before lockdown. Just a reminder that we always are looking for more people to join the small but active FOMP committee!

Monday, 11 May 2020

The butterfly that couldn’t fly by Indie (age 10)

I’m wriggling around in this little see-through tub. Something is shaking me around but I stick to the side of the tub like the four other caterpillars. I remember lying in the grass, my stomach full of leaf... Now I'm here, but I don’t mind because there’s some kind of brown food-mush at the bottom. I try to talk with my roommates but they just munch on the brown stuff. That stuff is AMAZING. So for a bit, I just lie on the floor, looking at the walls.

Suddenly a giant is staring right at me and babbling on! I don’t speak giant so I wriggle to the other side. It gets quite cold so the giant wraps a soft thing around our tub. It’s a bit loud too - I can hear some weird up-down music. Still, I keep munching and after a while I notice how fat I’ve become! I decide it is time to wrap myself in a cosy cocoon, and I feel safe and secure. But one day it breaks and I am sitting (yes I am sitting - I have legs!) on a paper thing, with a mesh wall towering above me. 

The giant comes along and makes more noise, pointing it’s long pink fingers at me. That’s when I feel something odd on my back, so I squirm around, noticing I can move them! Eventually, I realise if I wriggle hard enough I fly! I go up to the top of the mesh!

By now two other caterpillar mates have come out and boy they look different - like me I guess! Suddenly I'm out in the world! I can see grass and flowers. A giant puts one of his fingers next to me and I climb on. It lifts me onto the grass. I see my two mates fly away. 
Wow! I am all alone because the grass has a tall wood thing around it that I’m just not strong enough to fly over. Wait for me! I flap but nothing much happens. Instead I’m put back in the mesh thing and my freedom is over. The other two cocoons hatch and fly away. I find I want to climb onto that pink finger thing again - it’s fun. I move house into a big tub with sticks and rocks and flowers, and every so often I get a finger-ride out to the grass. I fly onto different flowers, but I can’t fly over the big wood thing!  

One day the giant took me from my tub, on her finger, down a road, to a different grass area that had other giants and was very, very big. As we explored I managed to fly off, but only down, and I landed in the grass. I sensed giants (with their huge feet!) all around me. I couldn’t see my special finger, I couldn’t fly off. I felt really uneasy down there. I suppose it was my fault, I should have stayed put. I heard giants talking - my giant and a new one. I’m here! Then suddenly they sounded excited. At last I was rescued from the huge green world and scooped up and taken home. 

So I stay in my tub, climbing on my friendly giant occasionally, and although my flying skills are quite deplorable, life is good.