With the evenings getting darker earlier we raced over to Marston to complete a bulb-planting session with Marston Community Gardeners before it got too dark to work.
Working in pairs we planted hundreds of daffodil bulbs all along the road heading out of Old Marton towards the ring road. No messing about on this evening session - we knew we probably only had 40 minutes to get the job done, even with head torches and portable lights helping to extend the work time.
We all admired the professionalism of Mary's bulb-planting tool - the ultimate way to plant several hundred bulbs without getting repetitive strain injury! - although most of us made do with spades and trowels. That's something for the GoodGym tool wishlist for sure, right below our own scythe! We picked up a bucket full of litter along the way as a bonus good deed.
Finishing in the dark, we were promised hot chocolate all round for all volunteers on our next bulb-planting mission on 31st October meeting at the Up in Arms. Check it out and sign up in the Sessions listings.
This is our 3rd year in a row planting bulbs in Marston. I very much hope that we'll finally get to see the resulting flowers next spring - 2 spring lockdowns mean that we haven't made it back to see the display yet!
It was perfect running weather, so the group run to and from the task was a joy.
Report title courtesy of Bethan. Thank you!
As we head into autumn we're starting the prep for some spring beauty!
Nothing lifts the spirits like the first flowers of spring, and autumn is the time to get bulbs in the ground. We will plant bulbs in Marston this evening on the request of Marston Community Gardeners. It'll be fun to revisit in the spring to check them out in flower - hopefully next year we won't be in lockdown and will actually be able to!
Some tools will be provided but bring your own gardening gloves, and if you are able to bring a trowel or bulb planter it would be a great help. As the evenings are drawing in I suggest hi-vis for runners 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 Marston in time if we walk. There won’t be a bag drop available.
* If you would prefer to meet at the task please meet us at 6:15pm at The Vicarage, Elsfield Rd, Old Marston OX3 0PR
Roger Bannister eat your heart out with your sub-4 minute mile!
Well done everyone for pushing yourselves out of your comfort zones and thank you for helping Sarah and Ben get the footage they need to complete the UK Athletics Leader in Running Fitness qualification. I'll be keeping my eyes pealed for funding to get more of you enrolled as Run Leaders, so if that interests you do let me know.
Here's our pyramid session in case you want to repeat it another time:
10 minute warm up - jog a couple of laps, then do some drills (high knees, bum kickers, lunge walks etc). It's important to get your muscles warmed up before launching into faster running.
Main session -
200m fast (0.5 lap of the track), 30 seconds static rest
400m fast (full lap), 1 minute static rest
600m fast (1.5 laps), 1.5 minutes static rest
400m fast, 1 min rest
200m fast, 30 sec rest
200m jog back to start/finish point
Cool down - at least one slow jog lap of the track (preferably 2 laps) and some gentle stretches. This is important even if you are tired after the session as it will help prevent your muscles seizing up or cramping. If you can't face jogging then a brisk walk will do!
Rachael is part of a crowd that's making a huge noise. Rachael has been cheered by 25 people - that's a round of applause just on their own. We hope they keep it up.
Meadow Lane residents have formed a gardening group and are planning some guerrilla gardening along the edge of Meadow Lane Recreation Ground. Last night the GoodGym flash mob was called in to help clear the ground and get it closer to the point where it can be planted up.
Spreading out all along the lane we hauled out long grass, nettles, litter, burdock, and bindweed, tripping to and fro across the recreation ground with wheelbarrows to dispose of the detritus amongst the nettles on the Aston's Eyot side. A couple of frogs/toads were rehomed in a more peaceful spot (anyone know how to tell which is which?), and needles and glass carefully excavated and disposed of safely.
The residents had expected us to just clear one section, but with our bumper turnout we managed to do a MUCH longer section of the lane than they'd anticipated, almost joining up with the area near the playground which has already been beautifully planted up with cottage garden flowers.
We've received heartfelt thanks for our efforts: "Thank you so much for the amazing work you guys did on Meadow Lane tonight! It will make a beautiful public space for all to share."
Definitely one to watch in the spring - what will pop up in the new flowerbeds along Meadow Lane?
Welcome Shati - great to meet you!
We've been given access to the Roger Bannister Track for a running session this evening.
Track sessions are great for all speeds and experience of runners - since we run around in circles no-one can get too far ahead or behind the group!
We will do an introductory session including a warm up, section of fast and slow intervals, then a cool down jog at the end. The principle is similar to a HIIT session, where you alternate sections of higher effort with gentle recovery sections. Everyone will run or run-walk at their own pace, so the faster runners will just have to complete more intervals in the time ;-)
Open to all, come and join in!
We will meet outside the main reception to the sports centre. Please ensure you are there by 7:40pm as I won't be able to come back out to collect latecomers.
Some residents of Meadow Lane have formed a gardening group and are planning to plant up a strip 1m wide along the edge of Meadow Lane Recreation Ground. They have asked for a GoodGym flash mob to help them prepare the ground by digging out the turf and weeds in preparation for planting. A strip by the playground has been started, and we will extend this.
Sunset is at 7:04pm, so we will want to get working quickly, but Meadow Lane is street lit, which will extend our digging time.
Wheelbarrows, forks and spades will be provided. You may prefer to bring your own gardening gloves, but they aren't completely necessary for this task.
* Anyone wishing to run or walk to the task as a group please meet in the car park of the Richard Benson Hall, 276b Cowley Rd at 6pm. There will be running and walking routes planned. There won’t be a bag drop available.
* If you would prefer to meet at the task please meet us on the corner of Jackdaw Lane and Meadow Lane at 6:10pm.
I am hoping to get a booking on the Roger Bannister Track for 7:45-8:15pm and will list that separately once it is confirmed.
Rachael is a now a pretty committed GoodGym runner. They've just run to do good for the fifth time
We wielded secateurs and loppers, and even a saw, to pollard an unruly willow tree. It'll grow back abundantly in the spring thanks to a September haircut.
We ripped plastic tape off a heap of cardboard boxes and created a weed-suppressing cardboard lasagne, with a side of coconut matting. Might not seem too mad to GoodGymers, particularly once you understand it's power to stop nettles in their tracks, but your average passerby would probably think it was a bit of an odd activity.
It was mattocks and spades at the ready again this week, this time deepening the trenches around the Medicine Circle. We started digging the trenches during some of our winter tasks - memories of plenty of mud for very little progress! - so we were pleased to find the soil a bit easier to work at this time of year. Never thought I'd see the day when we had GoodGymers sawing tree roots in a muddy trench, but 'expect the unexpected' is basically the unofficial GoodGym motto, so there we were, and Jocasta cut through those roots like she was born for the job.
As a bonus task we sent Amy and Meysam hunting for buried treasure - forking over a patch of the path to find the bulbs which need salvaging for replanting somewhere more appropriate. We had mixed success on this one, but a handful of bulbs were uncovered. We needed a treasure map really!
You can read a bit more about the evolution of Marston Forest Garden since it was established in October 2019 here.
Thank you Isobel for the tea loaf - we always appreciate tasty snacks!
Well done on reaching your 10th Good Deed Sophie!
We've been helping regularly in the garden of the young person’s mental health unit, the Highfield. There is only one gardener for the whole of the Warneford Hospital site, so it is a difficult to keep it all looking as good as it could.
The Highfield Unit has a large fenced garden divided into 3 different sections, and a public area in front of the ward too. We will split into teams to work in the different sections. We'll be looking to get it ready for autumn, as this will be our last evening session here until the spring. Sunset is at 7:36pm this evening.
We plan to do some weekend sessions in the autumn and winter to plant bulbs and do preparatory work for spring.
Please bring gardening gloves. Other tools will be provided, but if you have a small pair of secateurs please bring them - we always need more tools for pruning at this task.
* Anyone wishing to run or walk to the task as a group please meet in the car park of the Richard Benson Hall, 276b Cowley Rd at 6pm. There will be running and walking routes planned. It's less than a mile to Warneford Hospital, but be warned that it's mostly up hill! There won’t be a bag drop available.
* If you would prefer to meet at the task please meet us on the lawn outside reception at Warneford Hospital at 6:15pm.