All entries for July 2010
July 14, 2010
I thought I would mention a few things that have come from the bee project.
Firstly Ellen Moseley who works for Warwick Volunteers and keeps this blog for us gave a five minute talk about why bees are in trouble and why they are so important, as part of a course she is doing. She also talked about the meadow and the work that’s being done to engage the local community, schools etc.
Also we had a school in Coventry contact the blog asking for advice on wildflower planting as they had read all about the project in the newspaper.
Wendy and I went up to the meadow again today, sadly to remove the sculpture, as agreed with the Woodland Trust. The guys who made the sculpture said that someone had contacted them about having a sculpture made for their garden!
Whilst in the meadow, we did notice that the flowers are getting stronger due to the bit of rain we have had and there are more and more cornflowers.
We are hoping the University Estates Office will be able to cut the thistles soon, but if not I will go up there with my shears and see what I can do. This is a problem that we need to get under control as soon as possible.
Hopefully you will have all noticed the wonderful wildflower areas on the main campus particularly the Cryfield and Scarman areas. This all helps to support greater biodiversity, as well as making the campus a more interesting
landscape. The wildflowers and new native hedgerow planting should give a massive boost to wildlife in the area and Tocil Meadow is part of this
widening picture of nature at the University.
And finally, David Chandler was on C&W radio this morning talking about bees.
July 09, 2010
On Wednesday Jan Pell from Landlife came down to the meadow. She arrived with a friend in the most amazing peppermint green metallic Morgan Aero 8 handmade car. Yes this is a Top Gear moment. Stuart was on his way to Le Mans for a car festival where thousands of Morgans were going to get together as well as many other cars and as I had visited Le Mans and their museum last year we talked cars for a while and I took lots of photos then Wendy and Jan drew us back to the purpose of the visit – to review the state of the meadow.
Jan was surprised at how invasive our thistle problem was, but assured us it was salvageable and often happened in areas like this which have been left unmanaged. She stressed that it was important we cut the thistles down as soon as possible to stop them seeding and spreading further next year. So we are on to that.
The good news is that we have a carpet of corn chamomile starting to spread across the meadow. This should seed and once the thistles are cut, start to take their place.
There are also a few cornflowers coming through. Jan had hoped to see a mass of them this year but explained that with the lack of rain and the fact that they went in so late it is to be expected that the show would not be breathtaking. But, she said that many of the seeds may still be lying in the meadow dormant due to lack of rain and if they haven’t germinated this year, they may well germinate next year – or if we have some rain after the thistles have been cut, come up later this year.
The meadow also has some wonderful clumps of birdsfoot trefoil which are looking strong.
We showed Jan a little red flower which she thinks might be a scarlet pimpernel, she is going to check, but that is quite rare now and as a traditional wildflower it must have got there by itself because we didn’t plant it – which is fab.
We will keep you posted on the thistle problem but it is nice to know that with some regular cutting we can control it and despite them the flowers are coming through, even in the dry conditions we are experiencing this year. So next year should be much better.
Although we want to get rid of some of the thistles, they are providing wonderful food for bumble bees, of which there are plenty and butterflies, of which there are several varieties, including a rather beautiful moth with bright red wings.
July 08, 2010
8th July 2010
On Tuesday Wendy and I arranged for a painting session in the meadow. It was a glorious day and we had lots of eager artists happy to sit in the sunshine and draw and paint.
Many chose to draw the sculpture though some drew the hives.
They made some lovely comments.
“What a glorious place – so near to houses and yet a world apart.
Thanks to all those who have made it happen.”
Christine Sutton, Old Milverton
“Loved the foxglove sculpture in peaceful meadows with waiving purple
thistles covered in Meadow Browns, Marbled White and Tortoishell
butterflies. Also the odd bee or two!”
Julie Unitt, Warwick
“Relaxing morning in this lovely meadow looking at the bright foxglove.
Will return next year to see the bees and wildflowers.”
Rosemarie Perry, Norton Lindsay
Everyone arrived about 10:00am and walked up to the meadow from the Arts Centre. Then they sat and drew until about noon when everyone met up for a picnic lunch before drifting off home thoroughly refreshed from a relaxing morning.
Wendy and I gave each participant a packet of borage seeds (provided as bee food by Mick Smith our beekeeper), a booklet from the WI full of information on how and when to plant bee friendly plants, and recipes for food made using bee related products.
The people who attended this event came from Warwick, Leamington Spa, Kenilworth and villages as far away as Norton Lindsay and Fenny Compton. This was a completely different demographic from the weekend when most people had been related to the local community.
July 05, 2010
4th July, 2010
Well the weekend was a huge success. We had over seventy people pass through the meadow over the two days.
On the Saturday we talked to many people who all thought the sculpture was beautiful and a great addition to the meadow. They also loved having the bee hives around and many were fascinated by the bees. They also loved the posters made by Year 5 and Year 6 Cannon Park Primary School which were hung around our stand.
On Sunday Roger Wilkes came over with his observation hive and this was a huge hit. People ranging from 1 to 93 years old were enthralled and enjoyed looking for the queen. Roger was brilliant at explaining all about the lives and workings of the bees and hive.
“I liked seeing the bees because I didn’t know very much about bees before, but now I do. And bees are dying out so it’s nice to see someone trying to save them.” Ellie Bird (aged 12)
“A lot of things I didn’t know about hive destruction, very enlightening.” Nick Coltro (A physics student at the University)
Most of the visitors to our stand were from the local community, regular walkers or dog walkers. They had some great comments.
“As a regular walker in this area, I love the addition of the bee-hives as it will help the wild flowers etc! The sculpture is really different!!!” Lindsey Blundell
“It’s really nice to see such a beautiful sculpture when you are walking your dog.” Laura Payre
People were asking why the sculpture was only going to be up for two weeks and made the following comments.
“Inspiring sculpture. Brings nature to man and vice versa. Works well with the natural surroundings.” E M Lawton
“Really enjoyed The Fox Glove Sculpture and it should definitely be allowed to be a permanent addition.” John Budell – neighbour and dogwalker
“Beautiful addition to this tranquil spot it woud be lovely to see it permanently installed.” L Cristeferlie
“This sculpture is amazing. Brilliant work.” Jenny Freeman
“Love the sculpture!” Charlie
The most pleasing thing of all was that people really got what we were doing. They saw that the planting of the wildflowers, the siting of the bee hives and the addition of the sculpture all marked the area as an important environmental project, which was part of the community and for the community.
“A super project – for the whole community, not only laudable but beautiful too. I do hope the sculpture can stay put as it really sets off an area of special interest and is sympathetic to the natural surroundings.”
“Great to see such beautiful art linked to environmental issues – and bringing all that to the local communities, both local residents and university students. The foxglove is really impressive and fits in well with the natural surroundings – I hope it can stay in place for longer! Wonderful to see bees at work.” Hilary Dent
Wendy and I will be at the meadow again on Tuesday morning from 10:00 to 1:00pm so come along and meet us.