News in Brief
A Gardening Project at CHANTRY PARK
Are you interested in supporting the Ipswich based charity ActivLives with their recently launched gardening project Branching Out - Growing Together that will enable elderly people who are wheelchair bound and/or with strokes and similar conditions to get involved in an outdoor community setting based at the Walled Garden at Chantry Park, Ipswich? If so, for further details please tel: 01473 345 350 or email: active/.org.uk/activgardens.
Why not an ALLOTMENT?
For those of us who see exercise rather than abstinence as a possible answer to the excesses of the festive season, taking on an allotment might be the answer - and might also provide additional satisfaction from growing our own fruit and vegetables. Whatever the truth of the matter, there are no signs of slackening in demand for allotments at Bury St Edmunds, where all 327 belonging to the Council are fully occupied with a waiting list of 43, while at Sudbury all 41 are taken leaving a waiting list of 10. And the cost? Just £50.00 a year.
New Protective Pledges for ANCIENT TREES
Historic England is best known for its work with buildings and monuments, but it also cares about the natural environment. Hence the news of a firm commitment to the protection of ancient and other rare trees is welcome. The author of this initiative, Historic England’s Director Chris Smith, signed the Ancient Trees Forum’s concordat at a meeting with Russell Miller, its Director, and other trustees, setting out a vision for safeguarding such trees, and was joined by cosignatories including the National Trust and the Arboricultural Association.
GREEN FLAG AWARDS
Congratulations to all those gardeners and park rangers whose hard work has resulted in so many of Suffolkï¿½s Public Parks achieving Green Flag Awards from the charity Keep Britain Tidy, notably the Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds, Nowton Park, East Town Park Haverhill, and West Stow Country Park, Felixstowe Seafront Gardens, Nicholas Everitt Park Oulton Broad, and Elmhurst Park, Woodbridge.
FRONT GARDENS: THE LATEST NEWS
As a result of growing concern over the decline of front gardens in our towns and cities (See Newsletter No.42 Autumn 2015) the Royal Horticultural Society has just launches its new ï¿½Front Gardens Guideï¿½, hoping to reverse the growing trends of paving over gardens, or neglecting them, spear heading a ï¿½Greening Great Britainï¿½ campaign to encourage general well- being, helping wildlife, and reducing the risk of flooding, with suggestions on planting that are particularly helpful. The Guide is aimed not only at homeowners, but estate agent, garden centres, housing associations and councils. Copies are available simply type inï¿½ Royal Horticultural Societyï¿½ and take it from there.ï¿½
MAPPING THE UKï¿½S ANCIENT AND SPECIAL TREES
In the last decade more than 110,00 such trees have been recorded by volunteers and partners, creating a living database covering the whole country, supporting biodiversity, giving trees protection, and collecting their seeds to enable propagation.. The Suffolk group of the Ancient Tree Forum was established in 2016.ï¿½
THE CONTINUING THREAT TO OUR BEES
Controversial pesticides are being blamed by scientists at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, for the alarming decline of wild bees, caused chiefly by the use of neonicotinoids on oilseed rape crops, leading to a 20-30% fall in their numbers between 2002 and 2011. The use of this pesticide has been shown to affect the beesï¿½ ability to navigate and forage, thus hindering colony growth. Fortunately the use of neonicotinoids has been banned throughout the EU for a two year period " but what happens thereafter must be a matter serious concern.
The Threat to our Bees
About a third of our honey bee colonies were lost in the severe winter of 2012-13, more than double the losses of the previous year, with increase losses in all part of England. As one in three mouthfuls of our food depends on pollination, this is a real threat, to be taken seriously by everybody. So what can we do? As individuals, we can help by growing pollen rich plants in our gardens, especially those with a lengthy growing season. Or we can encourage or take part in community orchard schemes. The British Beekeepers Association (1874), have a list of pollen rich plants on their website : BBKA or tel: 0871 811 2282 for additional information.
The Suffolk branch of the Beekeepers Association has six branches with 600 members, and may be contacted at Suffolk Beekeepers for further help and advice.
Crinkle Crankle Walls
A recent accident at Easton was responsible for severe damage to one of the longest crinkle crankle walls in Suffolk, leaving some 15 metres in need of repair at an estimated cost of ï¿½£20,000. Such walls, also known as serpentine walls, usually built of brick have been a feature of the East Anglian countryside since the eighteenth century, noteworthy for their wavy plan - the waves helping to provide stability without the need for buttresses, and importantly giving shelter for the growth of fruit trees and other tender plants. Suffolk Archaeological Service (tel: 01284 765 210) would like to be informed. of any damage to such walls, an important element in the local landscape.
The Great Elm Tree Experiment
Cuttings from a number of mature elm trees, that survived the Dutch Elm Disease of the 1960s have been skilfully micro-propagated , and distributed to hundreds of schools, community groups, and private landowners, who have signed up to a scheme promoted by David Bellamy’s Conservation Foundation (1962). One of these mature elms at Mellis, near Eye, has saplings, grown in this way at several sites throughout East Anglia, and ten or more primary schools in Suffolk- including one our members - Grange Community, Felixstowe, and several other local organisations are taking part in fostering these young trees - a longish haul, as it will take up to fifteen years before it becomes clear whether they are disease free, thus paving the way for the widespread reintroduction of this affectionately regarded tree.. For further information about the scheme, which provides free saplings to schools and other non-profit making bodies, and to others for a small fee, please contact: Conservation Foundation
Continuing Capability Brown:
A plan has now been set in place for making CGT research available to a wide Festival audience through the Capability Brown website. We are aware that you have been waiting all year to receive these details and are grateful for your patience. I appreciate that Mr Brownï¿½s tercentenary year is now drawing to a close, but the intention is to create a long term legacy rather than provide a guide for this yearï¿½s visitors.
The Festival has appointed Susannah Charlton, an experienced publisher and web manager, to produce individual web pages for up to 100 Brown sites that will be accessible by clicking through fromï¿½www.capabilitybrown.org, and downloadable leaflets in a standard format for the 36 key Festival sites. These will be aimed at a very general audience and so will take a somewhat light touch, but she will include a reference or link to any relevant CGT publication at the end of each entry by way of further reading for anyone enthused to find out more.
In compiling the web page and leaflet texts, Susannah will draw on a range of sources, but would very much like to be able to tap into your research, rather than reinventing the wheel. She understands that CGT energies are already pretty stretched, so proposes to simply read your existing Brown publications and take the information she needs, rather than adding to your workloads with requests for action on your part. Full credit will be given, and the Festival has arranged for CGTs to claim ï¿½£50 for each site where Susannah is able to draw on your research. No one is under any illusion that this is an adequate financial recompense for the number of skilled hours that have gone into your research, but I hope you will feel that the payment provides some acknowledgement of your work and could be a helpful addition to your CGTsï¿½ coffers.