9 May 2013

Before I was able to get to this stage I spent 2 months in a classroom theorising about bees. The best book to use I was told was Ted Hoopers book on Bees and Honey (very helpful) I've had it on loan from the Wivenhoe library ever since!

My first encounter with a hive was with a senior member of the Essex Bee Keepers Association (top guy) I have to say the experience of opening a hive and holding a frame which was full of bees was almost profound, totally magical. The bees were placid and went about their business ignoring my presence, truly amazing. We made an interesting discovery of a  'wax moth grub' on the frame which was duly removed. Weather permitting I hope to re-visit the hive this week.

Being so enthused I have ordered my first hive and will use this to help me to build my own.

8 May 2013

 There is a chance for you to feel the Buzz in TTW.

Friends forgive me its been many months since my last Blog... 

I've been hatching a new scheme!

 Bee Hives have been dotted around Wivenhoe for many years, its a bit of a secret affair and I'm wanting to share the experience of my new hives with you...

Meg and Dan from the CSA have agreed to site a hive or two on their farm. Over the next 12 months I would like to share/blog my bee journey with you, if you would like to know more about setting up a TTW bee project please get in touch or stay at home and watch the progress of this new venture. Incidently I have joined the Essex Bee Keepers Association and have a very thick bee suit! Contact me, chrisblomeley@gmail.com.


Station Garden Update

A beautiful sunny bank holiday Monday brought hundreds of people to Wivenhoe Station to celebrate 150 years of the railway in Wivenhoe at an event organised by Off the Rails.  Jean, Nadia and Ruth had been working hard over the weekend to make the garden look lovely, and had constructed a wonderful Victorian scarecrow (albeit with a slightly wonky head!) to tie in with the theme of the day.

I had the relatively easy task of turning up on the day although I had rather huffily refused to come dressed in Victorian garb.  I wish I had done; the people dressed up looked great. Lots of people came over to chat to me about the garden; there’s certainly a great deal of interest in what we’re doing there, and several people commented on how pretty the garden – especially the forget-me-nots which are now in full bloom – looks.

In between talking to people I found the time to plant out some French beans, do a spot of weeding and see how the plants are doing. The alpine strawberries are beginning to flower and I am already having thoughts of jam making. All the herbs are doing well, with the mint and lemon balm having come on spectacularly in the last couple of weeks – perfect for making tea.

I have some pink fir apple seed potatoes – donated by former custodian of the garden Chris – to plant, and tomatoes, courgette and summer squash are nearly ready to plant out. The garden is a lovely sunny spot and these should all do well, although I’ll have to keep on top of the watering. The donated water butt does not seem to contain much water. The down-pipe wasn't properly connected to the gutter so I climbed up and fixed it, which should resolve the problem. There’s plenty of rain due in the next few days so we shall see.

I also constructed a new sign for the garden. I’d been up the estuary a few days before and gathered some likely-looking bits of driftwood for this purpose. A spot of sanding, assisted by Martha (5) and Freya (7), and a bit of elementary woodwork and the structure of the sign is complete, including a box for leaflets and area for pinning notices. I’m happy with the structure of the sign but it needs the name of the garden carved or painted on it and a bit of decoration, preferably before Wivenhoe Open Gardens on May 18-19; are there any arty types out there who would be able to take this on?

The sign certainly seemed to attract quite a bit of attention. From my vantage point at the Station pub, to where I retired to recuperate after my labours in the garden, I saw several people stop to take a look and read the leaflet.

1 May 2013

Wildlife Garden Grand Opening!!

The pond is fast filling with rainwater, providing a much needed fresh water habitat for all sorts of species. It is hoped that local primary school children will be able to use the pond to study the aquatic wildlife that will soon be living out their interesting lives under the murky waters.  On Saturday 20th April a group of young children from Wivenhoe Montessori helped sow seeds for the mini wildflower meadow.  It was a beautifully sunny spring day.  The children loved sprinkling the carefully selected wildflower seeds then stomping the ground to bed them in. It was wonderful to watch families enjoying the garden, and children interacting with the natural world.  
 The grand opening will take place on May 18th during the Wivenhoe Open Gardens event, with activities such as the nature trail and building bird nest boxes.  You will also have the chance to talk to one of the local experts who can give advice on attracting wildlife into your own garden.

While working in the garden we have seen stag beetles, frogs and toads, and lots of birdlife.  What we would like to do is monitor the wildlife in the area as more habitats are created. If you are interested, maybe you would like to become a Wivenhoe Wildlife Warden? We are looking for passionate people to help look after the space.  If this is you,  please contact us via hello-food@transitionwivenhoe.org.uk  We are also looking for local artists that might want to create something in the garden.

If you haven’t been already, come down and experience the garden for yourself.  It is a beautiful relaxing environment for everyone to enjoy.