An update from Sara Messenger of the Bradley Stoke in Bloom group.
Big Spring Clean
I had put in a request for good weather, but I think the email got lost as we took part in the annual Big Spring Clean on what must have been one of the coldest days of the year! Although we only went from the Brook Way Activity Centre to Patchway Brook Roundabout, and then onto the Aztec West Roundabout, we managed to collect 22 bags, as well as a strange assortment of other rubbish. We stopped at the central verge on the A38 to cut back the bramble which has been annoying me for the last year (when we get a spare afternoon, we plan to replace it with some periwinkle), but by lunchtime it was below zero degrees, and we could no longer feel our fingers or toes, so we called it a day and managed to get home just as the snow came down. Several additional hours have been spent, mainly at The Common East, cleaning off graffiti and picking up empty cans and pizza boxes, smashed glass and another used syringe, which is not really how I want to spend my afternoon off!
The Common East
We received an email from South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) informing us that the pond here was overflowing. We checked the overflow pipe and cleared away some debris that was slowing the drainage. Feeling accomplished, we were a bit surprised a few minutes later when a dog walker pointed out that the water was now flooding the road around the corner! And it was! The road was now ankle deep in pond water. The good news was that we could identity it by the large amount of duck weed we’d managed to get out of the pond. We checked the ditch, which was clear, but talking to residents we found out that the drain leading to the ditch has been blocked for a couple of years and, although it has been reported to StreetCare several times, nothing has yet been done. We’ve also reported it to StreetCare and there is nothing else that we can do.
The pond was brimming with frogspawn, which hopefully has now turned into tadpoles. I have read that a large clump of frogspawn can have 2,000 eggs in it, but only five of those would live long enough to breed, but I’m hoping that, with no large fish in the pond, the frogs here will fare better than most. One of our decoy ducks, Kate, made a bid for freedom, so it was removed so that we can repair her tether, and it looks as though all our bird boxes are in use again this year.
In the orchard, our attempt at hedgelaying was successful and it is already springing back to life. Contractors employed by SGC took down the tall ash in the orchard which overshadowed a neighbour’s front door and trimmed the oak tree. They also took down several dead trees from along the hedge line and removed a tree that had fallen onto a back garden fence on Cornfield Close. As a favour to us, they also shredded the numerous Christmas trees that littered the cut through and have left us the bark chippings for the paths. Once they had finished, Ceri and I pruned the orchard and repaired the old dead hedge. We also reseeded our wildflower patches in the orchard and we’re hoping that the kidney vetch thrives again, as this is the only plant that supports the life cycle of the rare small blue butterfly.
Many thanks to Roger, both for the strawberry plants and for growing seeds up for us – his first task is growing enough alyssum for the Manor Farm Roundabout. Thanks also to Frances and Graham for their donation of lots of tools – many of which have already been put to use – and to Fred, who has given us some trees that he grew from seed.
You may have noticed that the stands of hazels on the verge of Brook Way, opposite Cornfield Close, have gone. SGC thought they were in poor condition, so have agreed with Urban Buzz to turn these areas into wild flower patches. They have already been cleared and seeded. Although some of the plants may not flower this year, many will, and we’re hoping that when the sun starts to shine at least some of the 28 varieties will make an appearance! Among the 28 are wild carrot, buttercups, corn, chamomile, cornflowers, ox eye daisy, poppies and a hoary plantain. The mix used supports bees, butterflies and other pollinators and contains 81% of species recommended by the RHS as perfect for pollinators.
Best Front Garden Competition 2018
This year, we have decided to split our competition into two categories:
- Small garden (terraced or semi-detached house)
- Large garden (detached house)
We decided on a change, as some prospective entrants felt their small gardens couldn’t compete with the larger ones.
We’ve also discussed having a separate ‘Best hanging basket’ competition, but we’re not sure how well supported it would be; if you would be interested, please email us or leave a message on Facebook and we will look into it again.
The judging will take place in mid-July and, as always, the categories are: ‘Well kept frontage’, ‘Quantity/quality of plants’, ‘Outstanding character’ and ’Well kept lawn, paths and driveway’.
Photos: 1 BSiB volunteers standing behind an assortment of rubbish that they collected during their Big Spring Clean. 2 Overflowing pond at The Common East.
How to contact Bradley Stoke in Bloom:
This article originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on pages 18 & 19). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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