Wildflowers and meadows
Subject: meadow planting – some might say not a subject for the suburban gardener used to growing dahlias and roses all in a straight row. David Perkins, Head of Education at Roots and Shoots (www.rootsandshoots.org.uk) will help us think again. David has created an inspiring haven for wildlife on a quarter of an acre of land in central London. He will be talking us through wildflower meadow preparation, planting and maintenance and hopefully help more londonites do more for wildlife. David will also have slides, examples of plants and pictures to help guide us through the merits of meadows.
Guest speaker: David Perkins, Roots and Shoots
Date: 24th September
Time: 10:30 to 12:30
Venue: Faggs Road allotments, Feltham - www.hcfa.org.uk/faggs-road-site
Cost: £5 entrance fee
We look forward to seeing you there.
This large dragonfly is easily distinguished. Both sexes are a rich brown and have a distinctive golden-brown wings, which is often the most striking character of flying individuals. The male has two small blue spots on segment 2 and blue spots along the sides of the abdomen. Both sexes have yellow thorax stripes which are very bright yellow in males but duller in females.
Courtesy of Naturespot - www.naturespot.org.uk
Bees proved to be another popular workshop topic at the HCFA. There were 12 attendees, one guest speaker (Thomas Bickerdicke – the resident beekeeper) and about 5000 guest appearances.
It quickly became apparent that the bee world easily rivals Terry Pratchet’s Disc world for intrigue and mysticism. In fact it would be hard to make it up – a queen who doesn’t rule; workers who clean, guard and forage; and drones who laze around all day and occasionally go off to fornicate (perhaps that bit is believable). But that is just the start. Amongst other things the audience was captivated by stories of a bee dance, royal jelly, internal feuds between the queen and the princesses, the colonisation of new territories, famine and starvation and parasitic invasions.
For his final act Thomas unveiled his magic box of bees (an observation hive with glass panels) so that attendees could observe this fascinating behaviour for themselves. And to top it all we feasted on some of the honey we collected from the hive.
Thanks to Thomas we will all go away with a little more respect for the bee and the honey they so industriously produce.
The Gatekeeper, also known as the Hedge Brown, has gold wings on a brown background. The black eye spot on the upper wings has two characteristic white 'pupils' (the Meadow Brown and Small Heath only have one). This butterfly spends much of its time basking with wings open, when the sexes are easy to tell apart - only the male has the distinctive sex brands on the forewings (dark smudgy patches on the orange upperwings).
Courtesy of Naturepost - www.naturespot.org.uk
Students have almost completed the HCFA City and Guilds “Practical Gardener” level 1 course. This is a first of its kind initiative across Hounslow developed in partnership with Capel Manor College and Hounslow Homes. The class of 2011, comprising of 12 students, were the pioneering guinea pigs.
The course has been run from both the Capel Manor site at Gunnersbury Park and the HCFA site in Feltham. It offers students the opportunity to learn from experienced horticultural tutors and apply their knowledge to help establish the HCFA project. Students have been responsible for cultivating the ground, manuring and sowing as well as maintaining the annual vegetable and soft fruit beds. Furthermore, the fruits of this learning experience will be helping to supply local produce to local people.
It seems like the partnership has rustled together the necessary ingredients for a course with a kick. These are:
o Experienced and engaging tutors
o Clear and well defined course outline
o A practical based learning experience
o Applied horticultural opportunities on the scale of a small market garden
o A vibrant atmosphere generated by students with enthusiasm and a sense of purpose
o Above all a respected City and Guilds qualification with clear progression opportunities
and with this mix of mouth watering ingredients the course has more than justified its place in the Hounslow curricula. Therefore the City and Guilds course will be running again this September the details can be found at:
Herbal remedies are hundreds of years old, most synthetic drugs mimic the bio-chemical properties of plants and very often herbs have more than one beneficial effect on the body. Yet we are heavily dependent on pharmaceutical companies for medical products.
The Whitethroat is a medium-sized warbler, about the size of a Great Tit. It has quite a long tail which it flicks and cocks as it darts rapidly in and out of cover. The male differs from all other warblers by a combination of a grey head, conspicuous white throat and rufous wings (tertials and greater coverts) contrasting with the grey-brown back. Underparts buff; outer tail feathers white. In spring plumage the male has a pinkish suffusion to the breast. The female is distinguished from the male by having a brown head.
Courtesy of naturespot - www.naturespot.org.uk
Their typical habitat is woodland but they are also found in grassland and hedgerows
Courtesy of Naturespot - www.naturespot.org.uk