Throughout May and into early June we have been involved in creating two new features of our Green Spaces on our allotment site, Bowbrook Allotment Society (www.bowbrookallotments.co.uk). Around the site we have four special gardens called “The Gardens of the Four Seasons” and we added a further bed to the Autumn Garden. The beds were developed with the aid of a grant from the Peoples Postcode Trust who support us so generously.
We made the new bed on an area of rough grassland between plots and the boundary hedge. The patch was full of tough weeds and stones. The first task was to clear the vegetation off, some of this going into compost heaps and some to help level a rough area. This fits in with our aim of removing as little natural material as possible from site, and our aim to reduce, re-use and recycle.
Once roughly dug over the bed was rotovated and raked level in readiness for planting up with ornamental grasses and flowering perennials which peak in the autumn season. Many of the plants were donated by allotment community members or were bought with a community grant. We can now look forward to years of colour.
When we first starting clearing the patch of land we part covered it in tarpaulin to stop the weeds growing any more.
The first task and the most difficult was removing the thick layer of tough grass and weeds. Once cleared we dug over the area roughly before rotovating in readiness for planting.
Plants were then arranged to test out the best arrangements. We moved them about many times before we were satisfied enough to get on with the planting.
The second new feature was created during our May Working Party on a hot humid day so we were so glad that this work was planned for an area within the mottled shade provided by our big Oak tree. A few months ago we had tree surgery work administered to our mature trees and we were left with huge piles of branches and logs of all shapes and sizes from Oak, Ash and Sycamore. Once again to reflect our reduce, re-use, recycle ethos and being determined not to remove natural materials from site we designed a feature to use all this tree material and create a new wildlife feature. We wished to make a “dead hedge” to attract beetles, insects, birds and fungi. At our last Green Spaces Committee we decided it needed a name and came up with “dedge” – a shortening of dead hedge. We knew others existed in other wildlife gardens in the UK but could not find a name for them., so we think we have not just created a new feature but also a new word.
We began with a pile of brush wood and logs,
and began to build our “dedge” by hammering in uprights of freshly cut hazel rods,
and filling in between with logs, branches and twigs.
Meanwhile the pile of brash was being pruned into smaller pieces,
Eventually there were no logs or branches left in the pile and the “Dedge” had reached a good height and felt strong.
The final touch was the addition of a Robin nest box.