Although windy, the sun was glorious enabling us to tackle the unwanted weeds on the bank surrounding the pond.
This year the meadow had become very overgrown with too many “thugs” (couch grass, thistles, nettles, docks), resulting in little hope of the wildflower seeds germinating. Hopefully they may still appear, but only if we control the meadow “thugs”.
We therefore concentrated on a small area of the meadow – thoroughly digging and removing (as best we could) all traces of these unwanted weeds. Unfortunately despite the amount of rain, the area chosen was dry and stony – so very hard work.
We also “rescued” the newly planted mulberry tree which had become smothered in nettles. However we have yet to remove the nettle roots, so no doubt they will be back !
Our small band of FOEP supporters was joined by youth volunteers from The Challenge, a national charity that was founded in 2009,which is the largest provider of NCS (National Citizen Service) in England and will offer more than 18,500 young people the opportunity to graduate from the NCS programme. For more info. see www.ncsthechallenge.org .
Everyone worked very hard and seemed enthralled by the number of small newts they found, although not everyone was so keen on the very fat worms. (No creatures were harmed in pursuit of our mission !)
We would also like to thank Parks and Open Spaces for the loan of garden equipment and staff support – Patrick Galloghly (Park Ranger). Patrick worked with the youth volunteers throughout the day providing advice and guidance. Finally, the prompt removal of rubbish was also much appreciated.
We made good progress towards the winter preparations, but there is still much to do. There are still plenty of docks, thistles, nettles and brambles to be removed and bulbs to be planted. Can you help us?
We are particularly concerned about the dense growth of grasses/reeds intruding into the pond and the spread of the water lilies.
According to the Froglife report (June 2014 see http://eaglesfieldpark.org/its-official-vital-habitat/ it is important to regularly reduce their spread to maintain a mosaic of different zones of vegetation in the pond which provide a diversity of structure: floating, submerged, marginal, emergent etc as well as some areas of open water (maybe up to 30% or so).
We do have 4 sets of ‘chest high’ waders that we can use to enable us to clear the margins of the pond but will be seeking professional advice before tackling the more drastic and difficult aspects of the pond maintenance. We aim to do this by the end October. Can you help us?
The day wasn’t all hard work. We were able to enjoy another Tai Chi lesson with Chew-Yeen Lawes. Everyone was invited to join in. Eaglesfield Park couldn’t have been a better location for Tai Chi and the blue sky and views across Kent added to the wonderful ambience. We would like to thank Chew-Yeen and her students for giving up their spare time to provide our local community with the opportunity to learn more about Tai Chi.
They look simple and beautiful, but I’m afraid not when I try! However, I will persevere. Four weeks ago I joined one of Chew-Yeen’s classes and thoroughly enjoy the lessons and learning about the benefits of Tai Chi. It is gentle exercise and can improve your life focus and restore calm and balance. No special equipment is required. All it takes is your body and a willingness to learn. If you would like to learn more about Tai Chi, please contact Chew-Yeen by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the Tai Chi, Chew-Yeen organised “cake sharing” for a donation in support of MacMaillan Cancer Nurses, our Tai Chi teacher’s chosen charity. However, it was more like a picnic as members of the class contributed with various other dishes – rice, chicken, salad, cheese, fruit, etc. Thank you to everyone! Dare I say it – it was the “icing on the cake” for a perfect day !