Latest story featuring Bethan
What it is and why I love it
South Ward Allotments is a 5 acre plot on the Southern edge of Oxford. After the 2nd World War the allotments here spread from the Old Abingdon Road all the way over to Hinksey, but unfortunately the site now has a teeny bit of an image problem: It's a little bit out of the way and with around 50% occupancy there are quite a few neglected plots gradually succumbing to bramble inundation.
Emma, who's one of the allotment committee, asked us to help get some of the vacant plots cleared of brambles to make them more appealling to potential gardeners, and so we donned our long sleeves and long trousers to tackle the thorny problem.
The light is a bit against us on evening tasks now, but with a hot air balloon floating above and some lovely evening sunshine we managed a full hour of lopping and detangling. We unearthed raspberry canes and a sweet pink swing in the process and were gifted yellow and green courgettes from an allotment tenant as a reward - what will you cook up with yours?! 1 allotment plot down, many more to go...the plot numbering goes to over 200 at South Ward!
Emma has asked if we could come back a few more times, and so we'll look at future dates to try and clear more plots, although they'll obviously need to be at weekends for the next few months.
The Children's Allotment is a gorgeous space near Florence Park. They are very nearly ready to launch, so we will be helping with the last few jobs.
Jobs typically include spreading wood chip, weeding, preparing beds (raised and otherwise) for planting, planting various lovely plants, sowing grass seed, building weed barriers, relaxing in the resident hammock..........
The poly tunnel now has been thriving over the summer so we may be harvesting vegetables too.
All tools will be provided but please bring your own gardening gloves.
Boundary Brook nature reserve has been a regular haunt of Goodgym Oxford over the summer months. We have helped lay paths, dig up brambles, re-profile a pond (in the pouring rain) and created habitats for various bugs and beasties.
This weekend they were open to the public as part of the Oxford Open Doors event and had a packed afternoon of guided walks and forest school activities. There was even a morris dancing badger raising awareness about badger culls and the importance of vaccinations. Visitors were encouraged to explore the site, enjoy the various wildlife zones and take in the lovely relaxing atmosphere.
Goodgym were on the welcome table, directing people around the site, dishing out colouring sheets and maps to visitors of all ages and generally being smiley!
It was so fab to be able to chat about this glorious space and see the results of our tasks and the hard work of the nature reserve's work parties being enjoyed by so many people.
The garden at the Highfield unit is looking WAY less bramble infested now after our regular work over the spring and summer. This last evening visit of the summer (and of the year!) was an opportunity for a good tidy-up before autumn sets in.
Weeding, raking, nettle pulling, and - of course - bramble lopping were the tasks of the night. We even found buried treasure as we unearthed some teeny tiny potatoes. We replanted them in hopes of a full crop next year.
Side note: only at GoodGym would the declaration "I found a potato!" receive the reply "What? another one?!".
Several of wheelbarrow loads of weeds and grass cuttings were removed, ideas discussed for perennials which might bring some colour to the planting next year, and we were all done before 7:30pm sunset.
We were grateful for water and juice from the ward staff - thank you!
Welcome back to Oxford Jessica L and congrats on your 10th Good Deed!
Well done on your 1st GoodGym Good Deed Jessica V.