Showing posts from 2018

Biodiversity, Air and water: Christmas letter to 48 councillors

The significance of names and naming

Today's radio had details of an unfortunate court case, which included the headline - grabbing news of the naming of a child 'Adolf'. Names carry powerful connotations and can be imbued with deep significance; the couple who named their son after Hitler were convicted for being members of a banned group known as 'National Action' and were sentenced  to prison for between 5 - 6 years. I began thinking of the power of bird names, either because they are inherently beautiful, have evocative songs such as the skylark, or because of their rarity.

When we hear 'Peewit' we mean the Lapwing  or the  bird in the photograph - currently one of only six - but from an original flock of 200 regulars only ten years ago, at the Seething Wells filter beds, and now amongst the rarest bird in the borough. Richard Jefferies writing on "Nature Near London," (1888) noted that 2,000 lapwing overwintered on Tolworth Court Farm. I wonder if there is a site in the country…

Green Lane Community Orchard Planting

Months of preparation for a new community orchard culminated yesterday with  participants - expertly schooled by the Orchard Project - planting trees and fruit bushes. After digging suitable holes, tree roots were dipped into  a mycorrhizal application of beneficial fungi designed to colonise the  roots and create an early mycelial network within the soil,  increasing nutrient and water uptake. The trees were surrounded in protective cages and three fruit bushes - a gooseberry, red currant, white currant or a black currant - were planted around the base.

Amongst the trees planted were: a cider apple Tremlex bitter - and apples Newton Wonder, Cor Blimey, cherry Merton Glory and Lapins, a  fig, and a medlar var: Nottingham; a self fertile tree, the fruit of which, should be harvested during October. Pomegranate is becoming more popular in our changing climate and ours was covered with a sheet to protect from the frost during the next few months. It isn't entirely frost hardy, but …

Green Lane Community Orchard News

on  December 15th we intend to plant an orchard in Berrylands, where remnants of orchards can be seen in some of the large gardens that back onto Elmbridge Meadows (near Rose Walk). In former days this was  a stronghold for bullfinches, although sadly this beautiful bird is no longer present at many locations in the borough. Link to the story so far Along with several community groups including schools; members of the newly formed Green Lane Community Orchard, attended the Orchard Project's 'Orchard Leaders' course earlier this  month at Finsbury Park. We visited an edible food forest in the south-east quadrant of the park where Lewis demonstrated annual growth, leaf and fruit buds as well as unusual trees such as medlar.

We tasted the leaves of salt bush and a Nepalese pepper as well as watching  many birds eating the seasonal berries including the yew arils;  Orchards are hot spots for biodiversity and have been shown to provide a refuge for over 1800 species. Particu…

Panther cap in Kingston cemetery