Community mission

Tall Poppy Syndrome

4 runners ran to help their local community in Richmond.

  • Richmond runner
  • Anita
  • JP
  • Nat
Friday, 22nd of May 2020
Led by Anita

Three Pigeons Plot Lockdown Rescue, Week 4

We have definitely moved beyond 'Rescue' at the Three pigeons and as well as essential watering and maintenance work, this week saw JP complete another transformation.

Our tall poppies, which looked wonderful for VE day, were starting to look a bit straggly and they were starting to crowd out some of the smaller plants and perennials that the Richmond Society and GoodGym had planted. Some judicious cutting down was required and the overall result is fantastic - still lots of poppies but so much tidier, giving a chance for other plants to flourish and bloom.

Monday 18 May am. Anita. “Something of a Riddle”. I spent a lovely sunny 3 hours on Monday morning, doing a bit of watering and weeding but mainly concentrating on clearing the soil to reveal the concrete foundation around the silver post. Once I’d got down to the concrete I riddled the soil I had removed and returned the stones and pebbles directly on top of the concrete. This looks a lot tidier and will hopefully stop weeds and straggly plants growing up through the stones. Maybe we can plant something like sempervivums or another drought tolerant species around the edges? I spent a lot of time chatting to passers by, most just delighted with the flowers, but a fair few intrigued as to whether we are cultivating opium poppies (no, ours are the common field poppy Papaver rhoeas and not the opium poppy Papaver somniferum).

Weds 20 May (am). Nat. “Bee friendly” After packing my rucksack with gloves, a trowel & dustpan & brush I took myself off to three pigeons in the beautiful sunny weather. An explosion of colour & buzzing 🐝 greeted me at three pigeons plot. It’s been a long while since I was down there & what a fab job Anita (&team) has done!! There was quite a lot of dust, dried leaves as well as some weeds around the bed so I decided to spend my time tidying the area and dead-heading any I spotted along the way. The bees mostly left me to it with a few checking if I was a poppy or not... Lots of passers-by stopped to admire the flowers, take photos and ask me about what I was doing there. It was a wonderful change to have a chat to people (at a safe distance), & you could tell the plot brought cheer to all who went by. Just as I was finishing up...a familiar face arrived - JP! We took a selfie (from a safe distance), had a brief chat before he took over with the list of tasks set for us. A perfect way to start the day!

Weds 20 May. James. "Tall Poppy Syndrome" I decided to get down to 3 Pigeons fairly early on Wednesday as the sun was already warm and it was only going to get hotter. Delighted on my arrival to find Nat finishing off a shift of deadheading, we had a bit of a natter and caught up on all things lockdown. I had decided to tackle the task of removing poppies from a 1m border around the edge of the plot, to allow the smaller plants to thrive and enable the proposed planting scheme. The earth was dry and for the most part it was easy to remove the poppies, some of which had grown pretty tall, and it was satisfying to reveal the plants and flowers that were being overshadowed. As I sweated under the sun several people asked if they could take some of the pulled-up poppies away, and then I had the pleasure of a second GG visitor Mena, for another quick break to chat and marvel at the weather (and how difficult it makes working indoors).

Weds 20 March. 14.30. Anita. “Cross Patch”. Anita spent a bit of time doing a live action version of ‘crossy road’ , dodging speeding cyclists on the towpath whilst carrying trugs of water from the river to the flowerbed. Retreating to the middle of the plot to plant some Rudbeckia grown from seed, digging proved very hard going in dry, stony soil and blazing sunshine.

Thursday 21 March. Salwa. "On my bucket list". Check out Salwa's own report and gorgeous photos here: 

Report written by Anita

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