Guess who's back? Back in Marston?...This time helping weed, feed, remulch and water the fruit trees in the Community Orchard. Sounds simple, but not so fast - it's quite a procedure.
First the chicken wire cages need removing, and it's not all that easy to remove them without breaking the stakes holding them in place. There were some casualties.
Next the weeding - tenacious brambles and bind weed removed and the area lightly dug over.
Add a sprinkle of bone meal, then a layer of cardboard (arts and crafts coming into play as we cut a hole to fit around the tree trunk).
Finally a generous layer of fresh woodchip, a glug of water, and replace the wire cage to stop the deer nibbling.
2 extremely important matters arising:
* Can anyone teach Jessica to do a cartwheel?
* Answers on a postcard for achievable items for a "30 things to do before you turn 30" list.
For those who have developed an interest in niche apple varieties following last night's task you can read about Studley Salamander here (scroll all the way to the bottom). Apparently it could survive being set on fire, but not a bramble and bindweed infestation.
Marston Community Garden cooperative includes a community allotment, flower garden, the Forest Garden, a chicken coup, an orchard and a new Community Wood on New Marston Recreation Ground, plus much more. We have a few visits planned through the summer, so you'll be getting familiar with a lot of it!
This week we will be at the community orchard on Court Place Farm Allotment site.
Bring your gardening gloves. All tools will be provided.
Let’s go to the Victoria Arms after the task for a post-GoodGym drink and chips.
* If you would like to join a group run to the task location please meet at 5:45pm outside East Oxford Community Centre, Princes Street, OX4 1DD. Please note the community centre is now closed for redevelopment so we won’t have access for toilets etc. It is approximately 2 miles to Marston Community Allotment from there.
* If you prefer to meet at the task meet at the Boults Lane Recreation Ground entrance to Court Farm Allotments at 6:15pm. OX3 0NT
Cotswold House is an award winning specialist adult eating disorders service provided by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. There are 2 two modern eating disorders units in Oxford and Marlborough, Wiltshire. After our day trip to Marlborough to tidy up the garden of the Cotswold House there we were recommende to Oxford site too. Et voila! Cotswold House take 2!
After some minor faffing trying to get the garden gates open, we soon got to work in the walled garden. The Warneford Hospital site is large but only has a very small gardening team, so it's difficult for them to lavish lots of attention on weeding and pruning. The Cotswold House garden used to be looked after by a keen volunteer gardener, but recently it has got a bit overgrown, so secateurs and pruning saws in hand we started to tackle the job.
This turned into one of the most fragrant garden tasks we've ever had, as we lopped back sage (who knew sage grows into a whole woody shrub if you let it?!), rosemary, lavender, and buddleia. Jessy and Sarah did great work clearing a bench from under a tangle of bamboo and roses - looked beautiful in a wild kinda way, but not great for accessing the seat! Others pruned, weeded, and sawed, amassing a large pile of trimmings and weeds. Wheelbarrow crew trekked across the site to dispose of most of it on the big compost heap near the meadow, but there was a small amount left in the garden to be collected another time.
There was even time for a bit of ping pong before we left the garden.
Good work team!
Welcome to GoodGym Joe - lovely to meet you!
Cotswold House is an award winning specialist adult eating disorders service provided by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. Cotswold House operates from two modern eating disorders units in Oxford and Marlborough, Wiltshire. Inpatient and day patient treatment programmes are run in both units.
After our day trip to Marlborough earlier this summer we've been asked to do a similar garden-tidy for the Oxford site too. A vote of confidence in our gardening skills!
Please bring your own gardening gloves. Tools will be provided, but we nearly always need extra pairs of secateurs for these kinds of tasks, so if you have a pair you can safely bring then please do so.
Meeting locations: Run meeting point 6pm at East Oxford Community Centre, non-runners meet at 6:15pm on the main lawn of Warneford Hospital. There will be a longer run after the task if interested.
Scythes! Spades! Log carrying!
Last night was our first task of the year at Aston's Eyot, and it did not disappoint: There were nettles to scythe and rake, the pond edge to reprofile, and lots of logs to carry over to the pond edge to build a hibernaculum for reptiles to hibernate in.
The pond is a new feature on Aston's Eyot. As it was dug the soil was piled up around the edges and now needed smoothing into a gentler slope. An artistic quartet got to work shovelling and sculpting - with an architect in the group surely the landscaping will be exemplary?!
Meanwhile the rest of the gang ventured into the woodland area and flexed their muscles carrying logs from woods to pond edge to form a pile which will hopefully be an attractive habitat for reptiles to snooze the winter away.
And finally....the scythes were back in action. Happy to report no loss of limbs from over enthusiastic wielding of sharp blades (woo hoo!) and a whole load of nettles were chopped down, which will hopefully allow a bit of breathing/growing space for a wider variety of plants.
Great work team!
Aston’s Eyot is an island in East Oxford formed by the River Thames, the River Cherwell and Shire Lake Ditch. The 32 acre nature reserve was originally a water meadow, then a rubbish tip for a while at the end of the 19th Century, it is now a mosaic of woodland, open area and scrubland. The land is managed by the Friends of Aston’s Eyot as a nature reserve with public access.
There will be various tasks for us to do around Aston’s Eyot nature reserve, including moving some logs and branches to build a habitat pile by the new pond as cover for amphibians and reptiles (a hibernaculum).
Please bring your own gardening gloves.All tools will be provided.
If you would like to run to the task location with the group meet in the car park of the Richard Benson Hall at 6pm.It is less than a mile to Aston’s Eyot, but we can take a slightly longer route if time allows.
If you want to meet at the task we will be at the intersection of Meadow Lane and Jackdaw Lane at 6:15pm. We will walk along to Aston's Eyot together from there.
The John Radcliffe Hospital is the main Accident and Emergency centre for Oxfordshire, and provides acute medical and surgical services. It is the largest of Oxford's hospitals, covering around 66 acres, including the Children's Hospital, Eye Hospital, Heart Centre, Women's Centre, blood donor centre and many other services. The John Radcliffe site is home to the Oxford University Medical School and the base for most medical students who are trained throughout the Oxford University Hospitals Trust.
All this makes the hospital site very busy, with lots of footfall from students, staff, patients and visitors. And sadly, with people comes litter. The Estates team can't possibly be expected to keep such a large site litter free alongside everything else they do, so tonight we trialled a GoodGym litter pick to see if we could make a difference.
We met on the outskirts of the hospital site, briefed everyone on safety policies, divided into teams, tooled up with bags and pickers and then set off to clean up. One of our teams headed up the hill to the main entrance, another went along the path towards the blood donation centre, a 3rd team cleaned up outside the West Wing and Children's hospital, and our final team concentrated on the car parks.
Masks were the most regular find tonight.
They were everywhere....in the hedges, under cars, by bus stops. LOTS of cigarette butts too, and (oddly) a huge stash of cider cans in one of the car parks - did someone have a party in the car park?! Hats, hoodies and gloves were all found, but astonishingly NO PANTS. We even had a few appreciative comments and 'thank yous' from passersby.
We collected 18 large sacks of rubbish, a broken umbrella, a large box, and a folded mattress-y thing, and lugged them all off the hospital land for collection by Oxford Direct Services.
Well done everyone - the litter is an eyesore, as well as potentially dangerous, so it's great that we managed to clear up so much of it tonight.
The John Radcliffe Hospital has requested our help to clear up the litter around the site. There are lots of masks, food wrappers, cigarette butts etc. They are hoping that we can do a big sweep around most of the site, so we will divide into smaller teams of approximately 6 people to head in different directions and clear up as much as we can.
Things to note for this task:
Please wear a HI-Vis if you have one. We have a few spares which we will bring along. Although we will be sticking to the pavements as far as we possibly can there's a lot of traffic around the site and I want you to be as visible as possible.
On which note, if you have a torch or head torch please bring that too.
Litter pickers and bags will be provided, but if you have your own litter picker do bring it please.
Gloves are always good kit to have for litter picking.
* Anyone wishing to run to the task as a group please meet in the car park of the Richard Benson Hall, 276b Cowley Rd at 5:45pm. There will just be a running group this week as it is a little too far to get to the John Radcliffe Hospita in time if we walk. There won’t be a bag drop available but we can use the toilets. It is just under 2 miles to the hospital.
* If you would prefer to meet at the task please meet us at 6:15pm at the layby as you enter the hospital site off Headley Way. Location pin here.
What a lot of litter!
Helping Rose Hill and Iffley Low Carbon 17 runners, walkers and cyclists met at Rose Hill Community Center where Trev and Katherine from RHILC explained how we can help the environment by clearing up our litter.. or in this case Rose Hills!...
no strangers to mess the last time we were in Rose Hill in April we cleared an amazing amount from under the bridge Watch the video if you missed it!! Trev initially was worried there wasn't much to be picked on this Wednesday evening in November... how wrong he was!...
So splitting into group, we covered streets around the Oval, Rivermead Road, Spencer Crescent and Asquith Road, and the Southern Bypass (a little futher along that last time!). The estate is now looking spick and span but there is still quite a bit on the Bypass (why do people chuck rubbish from their cars? or even bag whole bags of rubbish or clothes and not take it to... a bin!!!)
Pant, yes! Shopping Trolleys, tick! Pumpkin, indeed.. Mog the forgotten cat, aww.... serial killer in the paper, aahhhhhh!!! we got a bit of everything! Thanks especially to the committed GGers who were stuck on the A34 on the way to the task.. no COPing out though and even Bethan and Lorenzo joined us in the end! Top picking commitment guys!
If you would like to know more about RHILC, or to get involved please do goto the website, sign up to the mailing list or let Trev know!
Tonight we are litter picking around Rose Hill. There is often a lot of litter around The Oval and the estate surrounding it, and with both the community centre and the primary school in the area it would be a better example to the younger generation if it was litter free.
We know you love a good plog - one of our most satisfying tasks - let's get to work!
Litter pickers and bags will be provided but please bring your own gloves. As the evenings are dark now I suggest hi-vis if you have them, and headtorches would be helpful for everyone. I'll bring our portable lights and a couple of spare head torches.
* Anyone wishing to run to the task as a group please meet in the car park of the Richard Benson Hall, 276b Cowley Rd at 5:45pm. There will just be a running group this week as it is a little too far to get to Rose Hill in time if we walk. There won’t be a bag drop available but we can use the toilets. It is just under 2 miles to Rose Hill.
* If you would prefer to meet at the task please meet us at 6:15pm outside the Rose Hill Community Centre, Carole's Way, OX4 4HF