Mini Nature Reserves

Our 7.5 acre allotment site is already a haven for wildlife. We have insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals living on our site. Habitats include native hedgerows, a wildlife garden and pond as well as the river and the riverbanks. And we have created a hundred different habitats for them on our plots. We also have a lot of grass. We have grass paths, we have grass around buildings, along hedgerows and we have grass on our plots. Mostly we cut it so that it is neat and tidy.

 

These neatly mowed grassy areas could be little mini meadows. I’m not suggesting we give up cutting the main paths and lawns, but by mowing a bit less this spring and summer we could give clover, buttercups, dandelions and more a chance to flower for pollinators like bees, butterflies, hoverflies and moths. This will bring more pollinators to our plots and may increase our harvests. And we can enjoy seeing which flowers emerge to add some natural joy and colour to our site!

 

So, over the next few months as we work out which areas are best to leave to grow wild you will see signs like this popping up around the site. If you can think of any potential Mini Nature Reserves, let the committee know.

 

A river runs through…

south norwood streamI’ve been trying to find out more about our little river recently. Where does it start, where does it go and most of all, what is it called?

It’s a lovely little river with seemingly more wildlife every year.  Baby moorhens were spotted last week and in the past I’ve seen ducks living on it and little fish swimming in the various pools. There’s a kingfisher nearby, water voles have been spotted on it’s banks and there are countless insects and birds. As well as being a great asset for wildlife, it’s also a fantastic amenity for us. I’ve often stood and watched it with my daughter, played pooh sticks and  gathered brambles from it’s banks.

The river clearly appears River Ravensbourne catchmenton maps and aerial photographs, but I have yet to find any – including fluvial maps – that name the river. But I think it’s probably the South Norwood Stream.  I know it flows through (or starts) in South Norwood Country Park.

What I find amazing is that our little river eventually flows into the Thames at Deptford Creek. Before that it joins firstly with the Chaffinch Brook at Clockhouse Road, then joins the River Beck to form the Pool River. The Pool River joins the Ravensbourne at Catford Bridge and then the Quaggy at Lewisham.  The map slows the river catchment.

 

Co-incidently I also found out about the Three Rivers Clean-up project. Now in it’s third year, this project aims to remove invasive plant species, complement work to naturalise as much of the river catchment as possible and give volunteers and opportunity to explore and improve hidden parts of the area. The third clean up starts on Monday 17 June and runs for three weeks. They will be working on our river on Tuesday 18 June, both in the allotment and in Maberley Park. Follow their latest activity on their Twitter feed @3rcu

 

 

 

Kids zone

6a00e55246b63f88340120a7b8eec3970b-800wiI’ve just had fun searching for ideas for the new Kids Zone page.

There were lots of articles and ideas for planting, but the ones that really excited me were the art projects.  Pinterest is a really good place to find a wide collection of kids arts and crafts projects (and almost everything else!).  In particular I liked the ideas Richard Shilling has for outdoor art, with my favourite being the leaf totem poles (see picture).  If you want to find out more, visit this website – Land art for kids

Do you have any art or kids allotment activities?

Jeannette