Saturday, 29 June 2013
I am a very regular user of the St Deny’s Community Centre, and I had been keeping a close eye on the ripeness of the cherries on the big tree in the front garden. The fruit on this tree often ripens early, a week or two before the other local trees and you need to be prompt if you want to beat the birds to it.
It was Midsummer when we rolled up outside the Junction Inn, with our fruit picking equipment boxes and lucky cherry socks. The first stage was to install the smallest members of the gang on the roof of the car, which we had conveniently parked directly under the tree.
Monday, 24 June 2013
Saturday, 15 June 2013
Monday, 10 June 2013
We had a lovely break in Devon during school half-term. All the plants and trees seem to be about a month late this year; due to the coldest Spring since before I was born. Now everything seems to be happening very intensely, as if to make up for lost time.
While we were there we saw enough Bluebells, Ransoms and Wild Garlic to last us a lifetime. You can actually smell them, before you see them, as you wander the sun dappled woodland glades.
My daughter came up with the inspired idea of creating home-made garlic bread, which she promptly did with the help of the Head Chef.
Basically it was hot toast spread with, butter mixed with ground ransom leaves. It seemed a suitable celebration of the return of warm weather and tasted quite delicious.
Even the Elderflowers are late this year but I have now finally seen some fully in bloom. So, it looks like it could soon be time to make some delicious drinks to slake our thirsts during summer Pickniks.
Tuesday, 4 June 2013
The Blossom Walk, through Mansbridge Community Orchard was a great success. It was announced at pretty short notice but plenty of people still turned up and the weather was as good as we could have wished for. Mayflies were flapping lazily over the river and sparrows were flitting out to grab them for tea.
We met on the old stone bridge over the Itchen River. While we were waiting for walkers, we spotted several interesting birds, including a Sparrow-hawk and a Hobby, scanning for prey. On the river we saw a pair of geese with goslings.
After a leisurely catch up chat with everyone on the bridge, we soon set off and cut through, into Mansbridge Meadow. We then breached the deer barrier and crossed into the fen area alongside the river.
The blossom on the apple trees made them very easy to spot, some were more accessible than others but all of them looked quite splendid. I recommend exploring the area, even if you were unable to attend the official walk. Sometimes, when you get deeper into the woods, it is hard to believe that you are still in Southampton but of course, we were here to check out the fruit trees.
So far this year we have been spending our time keeping brambles and ivy out of the apple trees. Now, with the help of the bloom we can see even more trees, which we had overlooked previously. Hopefully, we will have a good crop of fruit this year and after the harvest, we can get on with the business of pruning some of the trees.
Several volunteers offered to help with this on-going work and this has been facilitated by a grant from the Airport Community Fund, with which we are buying more tools. The pruning work will increase the amount of light that enters the canopy and improve air circulation, which will help prevent disease and improve productivity.