We have been so busy recently, we haven't updated the website... and in some cases because it has taken us a while to finish things - or start them.
Earlier this year, we registered with the Blooms for Bees citizen science project. This involved growing from seed three colours (white, red and purple) of Mignon Series dahlias. These are now growing well in small bed in front of the club hut (and we will put a poster up about them today).
These 'bedding dahlias' are 'single' (simple flowers), nectar-rich and known to be liked by bumblebees. The scientists now want to find out if these bees have a preference for flower colour. We are doing the survey by counting the number of bumblebees on each colour of flower for 5 minutes each.
If you'd like to do this too (you need to be a registered participant), send your counts to our garden volunteers at email@example.com and we can enter them online for you.
You will need to tell us:
- On what date you did the count;
- The number of open flower heads included for each colour.
- The number of bumblebees on each colour in 5 mins each.
- If you can, identify the type of bumblebee (but this is quite tricky - they move fast!).
More info: www.bloomsforbees.co.uk
Or just enjoy watching bees on the flowers!
We have just heard our January application for funding to the CCVS Rag Ballot was successful. This means we will shortly have £200 to spend on gardening tools.
Our aspiration is to have a good range of strong tools that can be used in the community garden but also taken out to other greenspaces around the area. For example, we already take a range of tools and gloves of different sizes to the Wulfstan Way raingardens on Saturday mornings.
Shortly, we hope to start helping a group of parent volunteers and staff to make a new school garden at Queen Edith's primary school. From time to time, we also lend some of our tools to community groups, if we think they can be used safely.
We had a really good morning in the garden, opening up Guy's overnight moth trap. We think we had about 19 new species, not recorded in the past two years. We will send the records into local databases. The largest and most spectacular moths are the hawkmoths but the smaller ones are very beautiful too.
We had such a successful trap, Guy offered to return later in the Summer (probably September) to see what we have living in the garden then. We will post the dates and times on the QECF website.
We had a lovely evening talking about the pond, adding some more plants, sticklebacks and a dragonfly larva, setting up an overnight moth trap and bat watching and detecting. We saw and heard four species of bat this year:
- Noctule, which is the largest we have, first to fly, high above the garden - rather like a swift - it feeds on the Light arches moths we caught in the trap.
- Common pipestrelles - much smaller and later and lower flying (as it is getting dark) - a couple flew circuits low over the pond catching flies above our heads.
- Serotine pair - larger than the pips and much rarer - Guy thinks there is a maternity roost in a building nearby.
- Soprano pipestrelle - a new species for us in the garden and park.
On Wednesday, we spotted twelve baby ducklings and their mother swimming on the pond. But we shouldn't be surprised if they dwindle in number over the next few days and weeks.
According to our pond advisor: they should be eating insects (and not sliced bread) so please don't be tempted to feed them. Although they are very cute, we'd like them to fly (or waddle) away fairly soon or our pond will just become a muddy duck pond and we won't have good pond dipping opportunities.
Sometimes, you have to be cruel to be kind...
In fact, on Thursday, a similar sized group were spotted in a garden across the road from the park so maybe they are hunting for the safest place to be with the tastiest food (or had been reading this webpage).
Update 2 July: four ducklings spotted with their mother - and a visiting cat eyeing them up... hope they survived the encounter!
As part of our RHS Greening Grey Britain project, we welcomed the Tuesday group of the 28th cubs along last evening. We:
- Hunted for strawberries of several types;
- Tasted some ripe blackcurrants;
- Harvested a few baby carrots - and kept the tops for Emma's guinea pigs;
- Pulled a straw bale to pieces and used it to mulch the strawberry and onion beds;
- Planted some young lavender plants - with RHS gloves and tools;
- Looked at the moth mullein caterpillars, which are munching the mullein plants - but didn't vomit at us.
- Toasted some marshmallows and drank hot chocolate;
- And perfected making giant bubbles, using RHS garden tubs.
It was really good to welcome back the cubs and their adult helpers on a warm Summer evening - the last time they came in November 2016 to plant crocus bulbs the weather was about as bad as it could be.
On Weds 7 June, we welcomed a party of Big Walkers to the garden for a(n impromptu) Little Get-Together. These were people from the Eden Project/Jo Cox Foundation on their way from Batley to London for the Great Get-Together weekend.
We 'bring and shared' snacks from around the world and then tasted some delicious vegetarian Sri Lankan curries and rice. It was very chilled, the weather was good, and a good way to meet new people and make new friends.
We had invited garden volunteers, social walkers and local people interested in community projects especially those to do with loneliness and health. We also welcomed anyone who happened to be in the garden that evening...
- A mention on Cambridge 105 radio (about 6 mins in).