Costessey Community Gardening Club – February Notes

After welcoming the members, PW gave the following updates:

The “Well-BEE-ing Garden”. Five of the planned hexagonal beds have now been installed in Longwater Recreational Park and are ready for planting. Planting will begin on Thursday 24 th February at 9.30 am. She asked for the names of those who would like to assist with this planting. Twelve members volunteered: Maureen, Sian, Joyce ,Julie, Virginia, Ali, Ann, Sheila, Lella, Jacqui, and Linda. (If anyone reading these notes is also keen to be involved, please email Pauline before Thursday 24 th ).

Costessey Town Council have agreed to donate the £2000 required to build the remaining two beds to complete the garden plan, and these are now being built.

She is hoping that we shall have Hi-viz waistcoats with the club logo on the backs to wear for this planting session to help promote the club.

She mentioned the vandalism of the Library bed by three teenagers last Friday and thanked the members who had helped to re-instate the plants on Saturday afternoon. She mentioned two Community gardening funding opportunities and asked the opinion of the members whether they felt she should apply for these in order to create gardens at Breckland Park despite the park’s reputation of vandalism Members agreed that we should proceed regardless, otherwise the community suffers through the actions of a tiny minority.

She told the members that Brooklands Care Home on Drayton Lane are keen to work with us to create a Sensory Garden in their grounds for the residents to enjoy. PW has worked with their coordinator to agree a design for the garden which she showed to the group. The area will be prepared by the care home and we shall source suitable plants for them and then plant them. There will be a Grand Opening of the garden, to which we shall be invited on Friday 3 rd June during the Jubilee Celebrations.

She told the group about the planting of a Community Orchard in Queen Hills Community Park by schoolchildren from QH Primary on Friday 10 th February, this being a joint operation involving South Norfolk Council, Friends of Queen Hills Community Park, Zero Carbon Costessey and some of our Conservation Volunteers.

The orchard is a traditional style of orchard with the fruit trees, many East Anglian heritage varieties as well as older varieties such as medlars, quince, damsons and bullace, enriching the existing shrub/tree borders of a wildflower-rich area adjacent to the Sir Alfred Munnings Way pedestrian access to the park. The orchard will be beneficial to both the community and wildlife, especially pollinators during the extended blossom period.

She apologized that Henry was unavailable to talk about the fete and about his latest IT developments. However, she explained that we shall be running a joint stall with him and his Britannia Gardens Centre on Friday 3 rd and Saturday 4 th June at the Costessey Fete and asked for suggestions for our stall. She also asked whether anyone had a gazebo that we could borrow. Suggestions were: a display about the club, a quiz for children, plant sales with our logo on stickers on the pots, including young sunflower seedlings for children to grow at home, a tombola. Regarding the stickers, it was suggested that we may be able to order a stamp with our logo, which would be cost effective and available for all future plant sales. We shall discuss the planning in more detail at our next meeting.

Regarding future plans for the group, she asked their opinion about coffee mornings in members’ gardens once the weather improves and this was approved.

Julie, who used to keep bees, gave a warning to the group that she had had to give up beekeeping once she started medication with beta-blockers as these medications leave one as susceptible to anaphylaxis following bee stings as an allergy to bee stings, and this can be equally potentially life-threatening. She asked the members to mention this to their friends and families to raise awareness of this danger.

Virginia said that following the last meeting when she had told of spare plants, members have already accepted those. She then listed some others that she now has available for anyone interested: Iris sibirica (purple flowers 2 -3 ft high), hardy cannas (green leaf variety 5 – 6ft high, bee-friendly), Ceratostigma (blue flowers, bee-friendly), Euphorbia wolfenii, and Physostegia (up to 5 foot with pink flowers)Once again, thank you to Lella for organizing our raffle, and to members for donating prizes.

Continuing with the theme: “ Propagation – Plants For Free”, PW talked about propagation techniques that members could focus on this spring in order to expand their plant stocks, and to provide plants for sharing and for our future plant sales e.g. at the fete.

These methods included:

Layering, to check shrubs and some fruit bushes for self-layered branches at the base of the mother shrub.

Division of herbaceous perennials, tubers and rhizomes.

Soft-wood cuttings which she also demonstrated. (This technique can be used successfully in early spring with lavender).

The meeting closed at 9.00 pm. The next meeting of the club will be on Wednesday 16th March at 7.00 pm for a 7.30 pm start.

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