9th December: About twelve volunteers made up today’s working party. The main task was building a “dead” hedge, approx. 2ft.6ins high, behind the beehive, using trimmings after the hedge bordering the lane had been laid. The bees will now get more sunshine on the hive and the dead hedge will give them some protection from the wind. The remaining wood will be made into woodchips by the Council.
The orchard trees were protected against codling moth, using greasebands and fruit tree grease. Everyone then enjoyed a glass of warming Christmas cheer!
The Community Allotment was tidied and cleared. In the Orchard, grass round the trees was trimmed, the broken planks in the wooden seat at the Churchyard entrance were replaced, and in the pond and wildlife area, grass was cleared from the dipping platform.
BCOG's new scythe was commissioned and then used to scythe the grass in the main orchard and part of the wildlife area. The grass was raked up and yellow rattle planted in the wildlife area. The long grass under the fruiting hedge was trimmed back and part of the community allotments tidied and weeded. A good number of volunteers attended - welcome to some new faces!
The wild flower meadow had previously been scythed and volunteers raked up cuttings and used this to mulch the fruit trees. Some weeding round trees was also done. Training of espaliers was completed. Some pond plants were re-potted and the area where new plants had been planted on the far bank last month was tidied. Spotted over the pond that day – Common Darter Dragonfly, Ruddy Darter Dragonfly, Common Blue Damselflies and a male Blue-Tailed Damselfly resting on a pond lily leaf.
left to right: Common Darter, Ruddy Darter and Blue Damselfly
The long grass round the trees in the meadow area was scythed and couch grass dug out from the base of the trees. General fruit tree maintenance, and completion of the summer pruning of cordons and espaliers. New pond plants were put in.
Ten volunteers attended. Half of the mown grass was raked up, and the wildlife area scythed. The new shed was fitted with a new lock, and installation of the rainwater harvesting system completed.
Long grass and weeds under the fruiting hedge cut and cleared. More verdigris toadstools discovered - poisonous! Couch grass under the fruit trees was cut down, and the newly mown grass from the circle and the pathways applied as mulch. A beautiful slow worm was found during the morning and a large dragonfly seen flying round the allotments.
Blanket weed was removed from the pond, using a rake. The area round the base of the fruit trees was weeded and the bed beside the pear fans cleared and made ready for the sowing of wild flower seeds. A water butt for the new shed has been purchased and will be fitted soon. Yellow Rattle seedlings are beginning to appear!
The Town Council cut the grass in the triangle which will be the meadow. The grass was raked and the clippings spread around the cordons as a mulch. Some of the wire tree guards were trimmed down to prevent damage to the trees. Rainwater goods were fixed to the rear of the new shed, so we can now gather rainwater to keep the pond topped up. The hawthorn in the fruiting hedge has new green leaves!
David Squirrell of Treewise lightly pruned the main orchard fruit trees and also pruned the cordons.
Two more apple trees (Ben's Red and Tidicombe Seedling) will be planted in the next few weeks to complete the row of cordons. The Oullins gage, which did not flourish, has been replaced with a gage Early Transparent (St Julian).
The never ending task of weeding around the trees continued, and the last of the grass clippings was spread as mulch. The remaining clay was removed from the edge of the (frozen!) pond.
Working Days 2011
Volunteers who braved the heavy rain helped clear the elder tree of dead wood, which has been piled up under the hedge in the wildlife area, to create a safe habitat for over-wintering creatures. David Squirrell gave a very informative and helpful talk on the different pruning techniques required for field trees, cordons and fans, with some practical hands-on experience for the volunteers. David also advised that apple thinning should be more rigorous next year, to avoid damage to the branches of the young trees.
Some verdigris toadstools were discovered while clearing grass from the fruiting hedge. These are poisonous!
Our solid new shed, donated by the Round Table of Bridport and supplied by Groves Nurseries, was erected by our stalwart volunteers with assistance from Bridport Town Council. Many thanks to all concerned!
A strong-armed crew of volunteers raked patches of the sward in a chosen area of the Orchard and strewed yellow rattle seed. A link to the full report from Nick Gray is on the main Orchard page.
The ash tree has been pruned, and the wood chopped up for firewood. We built two new compost bins; dug out a bog garden and planted it; dug out couch grass and sowed wildflower seeds.