In Summer 2018: it was really hot and dry, following a cold, snowy, then wet, then dry and cold Winter and Spring!. The raingardens dried out completely. But at least one local resident kept them alive with hand watering - thank you! We re-planted some of the areas, including with even more drought resistant plants and will continue in the Spring, after we know what bulbs have re-flowered.
With our City Ranger and Community Payback we cleared the over-grown shrubs in one of the two beds. We enriched the soil in the front half, have added a path and added a bench.
We'd like to clear and plant up the other shrub bed - maybe with an Oriental theme to match the Chinese supermarket and take away and the existing Chinese weeping willow and cherry tree. But we will need more resources, especially volunteer time, to do this.
Wulfstan raingarden project
24 April 2017 - evening: for 28th cubs - we had two main activities: surveying, soil testing and weeding docks and dandelions; starting to make a tree trail by numbering the trees, working out how old some of them are and how tall some are. We were so busy we didn't get around to doing any drawing but had made some printed 'frames' for 'Favourite trees' and 'A place for wildlife and people to enjoy'.
4 May 2017: Community Payback with Rebecca, prepared beds for planting and also sanded the traditional bench.
6 May 2017: Rebecca & Julian, with Dennis and Freddie, enriched the swale beds with well-rotted horse manure, examining lots of red worms as we did so. Also, we started to carefully prune the other shrub bed to see if we can make areas for new planting and re-vive the existing plants.
8 May 2017, evening, at Nightingale Garden, for 28th cubs - starting some plants off and gardening with Alison from RHS.
20 May 2017: at Wulfstan Way - the big planting morning - with 28th cubs, with Alison from RHS.
3 June 2017: we prepared the back of the shrub bed, made a path, prepared a base for the new bench, did some planting.
17 June 2017: - we did some weeding and watered all the plants - and tried out the giant bubble mix - because it was a hot day and we had some leftover mix.
2 September 2017: Community Action Morning talking about the garden project.
October and November 2017: we added some more plants donated from a local garden, some bedding plants and daffodils, tulips and alliums. The alliums we bought with some of the cash collection at the Community Action Day on 2 September.
Next steps: when we have time, we'd like to make a large bug hotel...
Wulfstan 'Favourite Tree' Trail
This is a collaborative project with Queen Edith's in Bloom, Streets and Open Spaces at the City Council, 28 Cambridge Cubs, the RHS (and one day will be with The Cambridge Botanic Garden).
We have a Map and list of the trees (from Kenny at the City Council).
We estimated the ages of the trees too by measuring their circumference (OPAL factsheet). From our measuring on 24 April we think:
Tree 1 (medium sized maple) might be 60 years old (about the time the shops were built, maybe);
Tree 7 (one of the cherry trees in the shrub bed) 43 years old;
Tree 12 (a small maple) might be 15 years old;
Tree 13 (another small maple) might be 20 years old.
The large Norway maple (tree 8), came out as 88 years old, which would be before the shops were built, probably.
We estimated the tree heights too. From our measuring on 24 April, we think:
Tree 8, the large Norway maple might be 22 m high.
[there are some other heights but I can't quite read the writing].
We aimed to encourage people, of all ages, to draw their favourite tree (but we ran out of time): 'frames' for 'Favourite trees'.
Eventually, we aim to work with the Botanic Garden to make and attach some 'proper' labels to some of the trees. This is taking much longer than anticipated because we are all a bit snowed under. We could do something similar at Nightingale Garden and Rec/Park too, especially if we could find a volunteer to take a lead.
There was a small article about the project in the Queen Edith's News for Spring/Summer 2017.
We wanted to encourage people to think about - and draw/collage of the place - but we didn't really have the time to do it: 'A place for wildlife and people to enjoy'.
About Nigel Dunnett's raingarden.
We have surveyed the site a few times, including with the cubs (simple plan of possible planting areas).
The Young Foundation: Benches for everyone: Solitude in public, sociability for free;
Cambridge City Council Sustainable Draining Systems (SUDS): has a very good guide - including about swales.
Susdrain - about raingardens.
RHS Garden article on 'Improving drainage', which includes swales.
OPAL Tree Heath Survey: Tree Guide (broadleaves).
Examples of storm water chain gardens: Chelsea 2011 (Nigel Dunnett);
Examples of Asia Gardens: Olympic Park;
Examples of raingardens: John Lewis HQ London (Nigel Dunnett);
Last updated: 6 January 2019