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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Penge Green Gym Newsletter December 2014

See what's happening in Penge this week....

Penge Green Gym Newsletter

 
 
  

Dear Penge Green Gym Supporters

 
 

Seasons greetings from Winsford Gardens



Winter is in full swing and the temperatures have dipped accordingly.  Our last couple of sessions before Christmas turned out to be very busy ones as were unexpectedly offered a variety of bulbs from the MPGA under their 'bulbs for London' initiative.  In all we recieved nearly 700 bulbs, including Alliums, Hyacinths, Narcissi and Daffodils.  All the bulbs were kindly donated by Taylors.
 



The urban orchard became a patchwork of square holes as we peeled back the turf and planted the bulbs.  It was back-breaking work but hopefully worth it when they pop up the springtime!
 
Shop at Waitrose Beckenham in January!!


We have been chosen by Waitrose for the second time to be part of their 'good causes' campaign in January.  So hopefully you will remember from last time that you can pick up the green tokens at the check-out and put them in the relevant perspex box.  A little trick is if you don't have much shopping you can go to the self service check out and they have pots of the tokens where you can take as many as you like.  The more tokens we get the more money they will give us. So happy shopping!

 
Other Work at Winsford 


Amongst all the hard work we managed to have our Christmas BBQ which we all very much enjoyed, especially the mulled wine and burgers!

We also completed the 3rd bench at the Garden Road entrance of the garden.  We will all enjoy having somewhere to sit when we have our tea and hopefully the public will make use of it too!

One of our volunteers took a course in fruit tree pruning and so our urban orchard had it's first pruning which will make the trees (pear, quince, plum etc) strong and healthy for the spring.

We have also pruned back many of the unrulier plants and generally given the bushes a good short, back and sides which also had the added bonus of giving us more space in the borders to plant bulbs.



 
Looking forward to 2015
 

Our first day back will be Wednesday 7th January.

The committee has been busy submitting entries to a number of award schemes including Keep Britain Tidy Diamond Jubilee Partnership Award; City of London Growing Localities award scheme; and planning to submit an entry to Green Flag Community Award in the new year.  


All of these awards will help to bring to fruition projects that we are planning for the new year. They include a woodland walk behind the wildflower meadows and new composting bays in the growing area.

We still wait to hear from the council whether we will lose a section of the growing area to the next door development.  If we don't then we can proceed with plans for a composting toilet.
 

 
 
Easyfundraising

 
You can still also use Easyfundraising is an easy and free way to support the Penge Green Gym.  When you buy items on the internet from well known shops such as John Lewis and Amazon, you can sign up to Easyfunding and they will donate a percentage to Penge Green Gym.  To sign up, go to www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/pengegreengym.  You can also help by downloading the easfundraising christmas pack and print of posters and flyers and add our name.



Sunday, 23 November 2014

See what's happening in Penge this week....

Penge Green Gym Newsletter

 

  

Dear Penge Green Gym Supporters

 
 

Exciting new additions to the Winsford Gardens roses



Local people who enjoy walking through the park have always admired the formal rose beds that give the gardens it's character.  Two of the beds always give year round colour.  We often see a rose or two still blooming into December.  But the third rose bed had been sadly neglected and overrun with ivy and other creeping weeds.  But thanks to a grant from the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association and some hard work from our volunteers we have now planted 25 hybrid roses.  We are excited to see how they spring to life next year.  



 
A busy time, cleaning, spreading and cutting

A group of volunteers spent a morning at Hevers meadows cutting willow whips for using as fences and other useful willow structures.
And thanks to the generosity of the Landscape Group and Greenfields Wood Waste Solutions we have received donations of soil improver and woodchip respectively.  They have now been spread over the beds and our flowers will greatly benefit from these additions.  We'd like to thank both companies for their generous help.



The council also sent a trailer so that we could remove all hard cuttings that couldn't been recycled in the garden. We have also taken the opportunity of an empty greenhouse to give it a good clean.  Hopefully all sheltering slugs and snails have been given their marching orders and so next years succulent seedlings will have a chance to grow!
 

 
Easyfundraising

 
Will you be shopping online for Christmas?  Easyfundraising is an easy and free way to support the Penge Green Gym.  When you buy items on the internet from well known shops such as John Lewis and Amazon, you can sign up to Easyfunding and they will donate a percentage to Penge Green Gym.  To sign up, go to www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/pengegreengym.  You can also help by downloading the easfundraising christmas pack and print of posters and flyers and add our name.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

October Newsletter

See what's happening in Penge this week....

Penge Green Gym Newsletter

 

  

Dear Penge Green Gym Supporters

 
 

Visitors and prizes for Winsford Gardens





A few weeks ago we were very excited to collaborate with Project Dirt in welcoming a group of corporate volunteers to Winsford Gardens.  The lovely staff of Dentsu Aegis came with great enthusiasm and helped us start our wildlife meadow fence which we had decided to rebuild in a more sturdy fashion.  They also helped with clearing the wildflower meadow of plant matter in preparation for the winter and other tasks.  Many thanks to Project Dirt and Denstu Aegis for making the day a great success.

 




 
Bromley in Bloom and Penge in Bloom

Thanks to all the hard work of our army of volunteers we were awarded 3rd place at Bromley in Blooms 'Best Community Ornamental Project' and 2 awards from Penge in Bloom for 'Most ecologically friendly garden or plot and 'Most interesting residential/community area'. Thank you to Alexander Nurseries for the presentation.  Well done everyone!


 

In Other News
 
 
We now have all of our urban orchard signs up and the area looks very smart.  We have also splashed out on some rocks to edge the bog garden with and it now looks well defined and finished.  We have also received a load of soil improver from the council and will be spreading it over the beds to keep them warm for winter.


 

Easyfundraising

 

Easyfundraising is an easy and free way to support the Penge Green Gym.  When you buy items on the internet from well known shops such as John Lewis and Amazon, you can sign up to Easyfunding and they will donate a percentage to Penge Green Gym.  To sign up, go to www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/pengegreengym.  You can also help by downloading the easfundraising christmas pack and print of posters and flyers and add our name.




 


 






 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Winsford Gardens Blog: Bog Garden



Origin of the Capital Clean Up Funded Bog Garden.

When Penge Green Gym first began working in Winsford Gardens in 2011 we discovered a ruined pond system hidden in the undergrowth at the back of the neglected garden. While we worked to improve the other areas of the gardens, adding colour to the flower beds, creating two wildflower meadows, a hedgerow, an urban orchard, new seating, compost bins, a greenhouse, raised vegetable beds and a children’s playground, we never quite knew what to do with the overgrown and disused pond area.
Winsford Gardens are named after Winsford House. The house was built around 1936 by a Mr. Stephen G. Gee, a local Penge property developer and philanthropist. The gardens were once the ornamental gardens of the house and include a number of exotic trees and shrubs, as well as a stunning rose garden. When he died Stephen Gee gave the house and gardens to the council. Plans of the house and garden showed the ponds were once a very elaborate display. The cascading decorative ponds had been fed with piped water from the house and the final large pond had featured a pump-driven fountain in the centre. The concrete base of this pond was now cracked and it no longer held water. We considered repairing it and bringing it back into use, but health and safety considerations made it a difficult proposition as it would be very deep. Neither did we want to leave it as a large hole in the ground that someone might fall into in the dark.
We have been very keen to add different habitats into Winsford Gardens. This was why we created our bird nest boxes, the hedgerows and the wildflower meadows. We think that Winsford Gardens should be for wildlife as much as for the local residents. So, we hit upon the idea of turning the large pond into a Bog Garden.

Why a Bog Garden?

Having a boggy or permanently moist piece of garden provides another really valuable habitat within a wildlife garden. Permanently damp, it creates an area where moisture-loving plants thrive, but it is a safer option than an uncovered pond. Just like a pond it will attract frogs and toads, sometimes even grass snakes. Dragonflies and damselflies will perch on the taller grasses and other moisture-loving plants will attract different varieties of bees and butterflies. It is the perfect use for a redundant or leaky pond.
We needed some funding though, as pond liner, sand, gravel, top soil and plants are expensive items to purchase. We were therefore grateful that Capital Clean Up decided that our project was worthy of the award of a grant. After that it was just a case of some careful planning.

Making the Bog Garden.

We already had our hole so no need for digging or excavating. We placed a layer of sand in the base of the pond first. Next we covered that with butyl pond liner and placed bricks and stones along the edges to stop it shifting as we walked on it. We pierced the liner at 1m intervals with a garden fork to allow a small amount of seepage to prevent the water stagnating. Good drainage was provided by a layer of gravel placed over the liner. Next, we covered the gravel with top soil. Unlike pond plants, bog plants thrive in soil with high nutrient levels which contain lots of organic matter. We let the soil settle to a natural level and the bog garden was ready for planting.
We bought a range of bog plants with plenty of upright foliage in the centre, some bold broad leaved plants placed more strategically, mixing yellow and purple flowers, with grasses and pond marginal around the edges. All the plants were grown for us at the TCV Meantime Nursery in North Greenwich.

Open Garden Squares Day and Planting Out.

The annual Open Garden Squares Weekend is a magical event, where community gardens and private squares throughout London welcome visitors from around the world. We thought that to combine our open day on Saturday 20 June 2014 with the planting out of the Bog Garden plants would be a great idea to involve the local community as well as our weekly volunteers, and to get the maximum number of people involved in helping to plant out the new garden. The event was a great success, the sun shone, and the completed Bog Garden looked stunning.
This once wasted space in the gardens had been brought back to life. During the rest of the summer the plants continued to grow and to spread. An interpretation board was designed and constructed using waste materials to explain the reasons behind the project.


We completed the project by adding some stepping logs to allow access for maintenance, and we laid white granite stones around the sides to disguise the edges of the liner and creating an attractive beach effect. We continue to work on this area of the park and have further plans to improve the other two ponds and the rockery that lies behind them.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Early September Newsletter





Penge Green Gym Newsletter

 

  

Dear Penge Green Gym Supporters

 
 

Harvest time at Winsford Gardens





After a very changeable (and soggy) August, September has brought calm and warm weather with it.  The gardens are full of trees laden with fruit.  The large pear trees are dropping their fruit, along with apple, crab apple, Elderberries and our new urban orchard trees have their first few Medlars and Green Gages.  We still have lots of colour in the garden with the sunflowers, black eyed susans and ubiquitous Cosmos.






Excitingly we've had our first resident move into our bog garden.  This frog was enjoying his/her new home amongst the bog plants.  We also welcome back a slow worm in our compost bins.  It was making a quick exit so hopefully it was not too disturbed.


 

Wednesday 17th September Session

 
We will be having a shortened session on Wednesday 17th due to a corporate event.  We will finish at approximatley 12.30.  We will be back to normal the following week.  
 
Vegetable 'Silly' Seed Sale
 
TCV Retail has a very special offer on the online shop at the moment. All our vegetable seeds are only 99p each with free delivery*. There are only a limited number of each variety available (quantities vary) and the seeds need to be sown by September 2015.

So if you have a food growing project, local community allotment or just want a few packets (or more) for yourself, then take a look at the online shop (using the link above) to take advantage of this great offer.
Please feel free to pass this offer onto your volunteers, friends, family etc
*free delivery is available only on the vegetable seeds - if you purchase another product with the vegetable seeds you will be charged the standard delivery charge.
 
Other Projects
 
We are digging 2 new beds where the willow arch used to be.  We hope to make another sensory bed area which has been so successful.  The bog garden interpretation board is now complete and looks fantastic.  We hope to cut down some willow for new fencing and other projects going into the winter.

 
AGM


The AGM was held on 30th July.  Details can be found on our website.
http://www.pengegreengym.org.uk/past-events/agm-2014/