Waving the Green Flag again

The Pleasaunce has once again won a Green Flag award  following an inspection last year. The scheme exists to ‘recognise and reward the best green spaces in the country’.

Back in June inspectors were given a tour of the park by members of the Friends committee and parks officers – including the cafe with its green building, the Bridge, the orchard and the navy graves.

In their report the inspectors praised the hands-on involvement of the Friends Group in the park and described the cafe building as excellent, commenting that, ‘Cafe seems to be part of the park with a sense of membership rather than just catering provision’.

They found the park clean and well kept, despite a little graffiti and  said that it was ‘clearly cared for by the local community and well managed by a dedicated and competent team at the Council’.

They saw some room for improvement, suggesting that there could be more interpretation in the park of its long history, which could give the FEGP some ideas for future projects.

If you have any ideas on how to keep our park well-cared for, or perhaps how to make more improvements, remember our AGM is coming up on 28th January – all are welcome.

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The orchard group is now Pip!

Pip logoThe Pleasaunce orchard group, a volunteer team of local people who created and continue to maintain the memorial orchard, have changed their name to Pip! – which stands for Planting in the Pleasaunce (which raises the possibility of our youngest volunteers being ‘Pipsqueaks’…).

The group decided on the name change because of members’ interest (and track record) in carrying out other projects in the Pleasaunce, besides the orchard, that also help wildlife and boost biodiversity in and around the park.

Pip! has a new web page and have put together a mission statement – click here.

A great way to keep up with Pip! events and volunteering opportunities is to join the Facebook group. We’re an informal, friendly group, and we’d love to hear from you. Typical tasks include watering the trees, doing occasional mulching, pruning and beneficial planting and who knows what else in the future – but no one is expected to do more than they enjoy! We welcome both regular and occasional contributors, and no experience or expertise is necessary, though it’s always welcome. And little ones are always welcome, too.

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Forest gardening in the community orchard

The volunteers who created and care for the East Greenwich Pleasaunce Memorial Orchard tried out some ‘forest gardening’ techniques on 26 May.

Forest gardening is a permaculture-influenced method of mimicing the structure of a woodland, aiming to make the most productive use of the space available by growing at all levels – the canopy, the shrub layer, ground cover and in the soil. Choosing the right mix of plants can not only provide benefits to the fruit trees but can boost the diversity of life in the area.

Part of the volunteer term caring for the orchard

Part of the volunteer term caring for the orchard – photo by Rob of greenwich.co.uk

The refreshed orchard

The refreshed orchard

We were visited by a holly blue, interested in the fresh mulch

We were visited by a holly blue, interested in the fresh mulch

Comfrey, for example, with its deep tap roots, helps bring nitrogen to the surface, where the fruit trees’ crucial surface roots can access it. Plants such as apple mint and flowering plants help to attract insects that prey on the dreaded aphids, meaning we can avoid chemical treatments – and of course we help support our threatened bee populations too. Nasturtiums can be a ‘sacrficial’ plant, drawing aphids away from the trees, while red clover not only flowers but helps keep back the grass that competes with our trees’ roots.

We were treated to blazing sunshine, as well as a new volunteer, and we got a lot done, including fitting grease bands to deter ants, and a welcome refresh of the mulch circles, which, among other things, help the young trees retain crucial moisture. Then, a few days later, two of the group took up a generous offer of collecting free surplus Chelsea Flower Show plants, distributed by the good people at Lewisham Gardens. This allowed us to add still more beauty to the orchard, and others may somehow have ended up lining the platform of Westcombe Park station, thanks to some mysterious guerrilla gardeners.

If you’d like to keep up with events and volunteer opportunities at your community orchard, feel free to join our Facebook group.


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Join our community orchard volunteer day, 26 May

Orchard Workday Poster - Colour

Artwork by Graeme McGregor, http://www.graememcg.tumblr.com

The Pleasaunce orchard and growing group is holding a volunteer day on Sunday 26 May, from 10am onwards.

All are welcome, children and adults, to help carry out some tree care tasks to help our young apple, pear and plum trees grow strong and healthy.

We’ll not only be weeding and refreshing the mulch circles around the trees, which helps them to get the water and nutrients they need in their early years. We’ll also be trying some ‘forest gardening’ techniques by planting plants and sowing seeds that are known to help young trees. Come along and learn about these methods, meet other volunteers and help make a healthy orchard for the future.

If you have your own spade, trowel or handfork to bring along, that would be really helpful – and if children have their own child-sized tools, even better. If you don’t have tools, don’t worry, please come along anyway.

You can join our Facebook group, too, to keep up with events and news from your community orchard. And you can check out the orchard section of this site.

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