Christmas Meal Reminder- do tell us if you are coming!

christmas-tree

Saturday 19th December at Marlpit Community Centre at 1pm

The Members’ Christmas Meal will have a festive menu including a choice of soups, chicken or vegetarian dishes with plenty of roast vegetables. Please bring a dessert if you can, and a bottle if you wish – soft drinks or alcohol – the premises are licensed. We’ll have collecting tins for voluntary donations to help with the costs.

We already have offers of help from the Food Team but we will need volunteers to help with clearing up afterwards.
Please tell us whether you are coming before Friday 18th,

– we need to know numbers in advance to plan how much to harvest and to cook – and let us know if you are vegetarian.

Email Moira on the link below or phone 01603 440444 or 07855 911331

Moira – The Food Team

RHS Secondary School Garden Club

An RHS Secondary School Garden Club project is to be based in our area.
They hope to work with 5 secondary schools.
As you are probably aware there is a national shortage of young people going into horticulture.
Primary schools often have gardening as a club after school, or do some growing as part of the science curriculum,
but then within secondary schools gardening disappears from the timetable!
skilled horticultural volunteer flierWe want to address this by helping secondary schools run gardening clubs at school.
We are seeking enthusiastic experienced gardeners who would like to share their knowledge with the next generation!
Please read the flier and get in touch or share it with people you know who could help.
I would like to meet with potential volunteers in January to get ready for the spring season ahead.

Many thanks
And Happy Christmas to you all –
Health Happiness and Horticulture!

Alison Findlay

Learning at Marlpit

20151212-PracticalThe last session of the 2015 Programme of Practical Gardening courses is being held at Marlpit Community Garden on Saturday 12th December 2015.
It is titled “Sustainable Gardening Practices” – click here to book a place.

 

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Male Oedemera nobilis, False Oil Beetle, Thick-Legged Flower Beetle, Swollen-Thighed Beetle
Click the “Thick-legged Flower Beetle” to see Teresa’s report of November’s “Gardening for Nature” session.


New Training Programme

2016-Saturday-Practicals
The new programme of courses for 2016 is published. Two courses will be run on the third Saturday of each month. There are morning courses titled “Growing Fruit and Vegetables” and afternoon courses titled “Growing and Using Herbs“. To find out more and sign-up, click here.

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Christmas 2015

Grow Our Own - Christmas Party 2014

Grow Our Own – Christmas Party 2014

On Saturday 19th December at Marlpit Community Centre 1pm, the Members’ Christmas Meal will have a festive menu including a choice of soups, roast chicken or vegetarian dishes with plenty of roast vegetables. Please bring a dessert if you can, and a bottle if you wish – soft drinks or alcohol – the premises are licensed. We’ll have collecting tins for voluntary donations to help with the costs.

We already have offers of help from the Food Team but we will need volunteers to help with clearing up afterwards.
Please tell us before Thursday 17th, if you are coming  – we will need to know numbers in advance to plan how much to cook – and let us know if you are vegetarian.

Email Moira on the link below or phone 01603 440444

Moira – The Food Team

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Norwich in Bloom Awards

marlpit cert 2015The two SLI projects, Grow Our Own and Marlpit Community Garden, received certificates for achievement in their communities at a Norwich presentation recently.
AIB-RHS-Norwich-IYN-at-Brook-Hotel-11-26-2015
We were among over 100 community groups from the Norwich area who are encouraged each year by the Friends of Norwich in Bloom to enter the national RHS/Britain in Bloom ‘Its Your Neighbourhood’ campaign through Anglia in Bloom.
This year’s presentation was at Brook Hotel, Bowthorpe where guests enjoyed a buffet after receiving their certificates from Brian Thornton, President of Anglia in Bloom, and guest speaker Alison Findlay, of RHS/Britain in Bloom.
Mr Thornton, in his welcome, said of the ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ scheme that it was to give people recognition for what they had achieved in their area.
BB-AIB-RHS-Norwich-IYN-at-Brook-Hotel-11-26-2015
Grow Our Own was represented by Moira Froud and Peter Anderson, and Marlpit Community Centre by Tish Kerkham. The Bluebell GO2 award was at Level 4 – Thriving. Last year’s GO2 certificate was at Level 5 – Outstanding.
Peter commented: ‘I was pleased to attend the event, especially as I was unaware what ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ was about. Perhaps next year we could do a little more and get back our Level 5 status.’
GO2 has further involvement with the Royal Horticultural Society through its Kew Gardens wildflower seeds project, which is ongoing.
Marlpit Community Garden’s award was at Level 3 – Developing. Tish said “I think this is a fair assessment of where we are now. As a new project we have done well to receive this award.”
MCG-AIB-RHS-Norwich-IYN-at-Brook-Hotel-11-26-2015

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Marlpit Bees Ready For Winter

bees_wrapped_up-x768Our bee hives are wrapped up and ready for winter. Green woodpeckers love to feast on honey in cold weather, so we have wrapped the hives in wire mesh to stop them. Bricks and stones on the roofs should prevent the hives blowing over and the entrances have been partly blocked to keep out any mice looking for somewhere to nest.

On mild days the worker bees can still be seen bringing in last minute supplies, but on most days during the winter they will be clustered together with the queen in the centre. They vibrate their wing muscles to maintain the temperature of the cluster at 35˚C.

Tish

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Birds of Marlpit Community Garden – December 2015

In November I saw the Rose Ringed Parakeets which first visited the garden in October, but haven’t seen them this month. They draw attention to themselves by their raucous screeching calls, which seem so out of place coming from such exquisitely beautiful birds. It remains to be seen whether they will survive this far north. There are now thriving colonies in the south of Britain; the royal parks in London hold large numbers, and they are increasing their range all the time, probably due to a combination of global warming and an increasing number of people putting out foods for the birds: they are frequent visitors to garden bird tables.

Alauda arvensis, Skylark on barbed-wire fence

Alauda arvensis, Skylark on barbed-wire fence

A skylark flew over the Garden yesterday. They don’t appear to be resident there, but are common a mile or so further along the Marriot’s Way. They are one of the many farmland birds whose population has declined thanks to the intensification of agriculture, and their survival in relatively large numbers here is probably due to the farmland being farmed sympathetically for wildlife, with large unploughed margins to the fields. The farmers are paid by the European Union for this environmentally friendly farming.
We have been planting a large number of trees which we obtained from the Woodland Trust over the last few weeks. They should encourage more birds into the Garden, especially the rowan and hawthorn, whose berries provide such an important source of food for thrushes such as the redwing in cold winter weather when the ground is too frozen to probe for worms and there are few insects about.

Prunella modularis and Troglodytes troglodytes: a Dunnock arguing with a Wren

Prunella modularis and Troglodytes troglodytes: a Dunnock arguing with a Wren

Yesterday, while we were out planting trees along the southern boundary of the site by the hedge we saw a hedge sparrow, or dunnock. These unassuming birds are not true sparrows, having a thin bill and eating mainly insects and spiders, in contrast with the house sparrows and tree sparrows which are the only members of the sparrow family commonly found in Britain, whose thick bills show that seeds form a large part of their diet, especially in winter. Dunnock have a beautiful warbling song, and a very interesting sex life, being polygamous, unlike most birds who are monogamous.

A pair of Goldfinches, Carduelis carduelis, feeding on thistle-seeds

A pair of Goldfinches, Carduelis carduelis, feeding on thistle-seeds

The beautiful twittering calls of goldfinches can be heard nearly all the time along the edge of the Garden, where the birds call from the trees and hedges before coming down to feed on the seeds of the various wild flowers which are common on the Garden. Their cheerful songs and colourful plumage nearly led to their extinction in Britain early in the last century, when they were extremely popular as cage birds and many were trapped to be sold as pets. They were saved by legislation outlawing the sale of British birds other than those which had been bred in captivity.

Waterlogged field with horses and gulls in February 2011 at Marlpit, Norwich

Waterlogged field with horses and gulls in February 2011 at Marlpit, Norwich

A few gulls were feeding on the ground in the horses’ field in the north of the Garden yesterday, and included a Lesser Black-backed Gull. These gulls are migratory; our breeding “LBB”s leave for the Mediterranean at the end of summer, and are replaced by wintering birds from Scandinavia. Five years ago, when Marlpit Community Garden consisted entirely of grazing for horses, a large pond used to appear at the northern end of the field every winter, and attracted large numbers of gulls. It will be interesting to see if our efforts to provide a marshy area and a pond there attract more of them.

Chris Keene

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Photos by Jim

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