At the end of October we held our first ever family oriented working party social day at our allotments, Bowbrook Allotment Community. It was a great success even though the whole day was spent in wellies and waterproofs. The ground beneath our feet was saturated and occasional showers got us from above, but neither distracted us from our aims of the day.
We started just after one o’clock when a photographer from the local newspaper came to take some shots of families working together on our “Homes for Wildlife” projects and one of our most recent award, the RHS Britain in Bloom “National Award of Distinction” which we were awarded for our community involvement.
First task was to make some birdboxes and Wren Pouches. All the materials were collected together by one of our picnic benches and tools readied. It was heartening to see children, their parents and grandparents working together creating these nest boxes. Three generations together!
We made some hanging bug shelters too, created from broken flower pots, driftwood and bits of bark.
We wished also to make a couple of bug hotels, a small one along the fenceline and our most ambitious yet a 6 ft high creepy crawly cottage both based on recycled wooden pallets. We began with a stack of pallets and a collection of natural objects collected by allotment holders, sticks, old garden canes, stones, fir cones etc.
The “cottage” soon began to take shape as pallets were stacked and fixed together to give the basic structure.
All we have to do now is choose a name for our new insect home. We have challenged the youngsters from the allotments, our Roots and Shoots group, to choose a suitable one. So far we have a few ideas – “Minibeast Manor”, “Bugtique Hotel” and “Minibeast Metropolis”. The difficulty will be how to decide!
The smaller insect hotel was made from five pallets and again filled with objects that would provide shelter for wildlife. We finished it off with a stone pile, the perfect home for beetles.
The final jobs before our BBQ was to plant lots of acorns, sweet chestnuts and hazel nuts to grow on and plant in our hedgerows and to plant up a whole sack of daffodil bulbs alongside the paths in our meadows.
The BBQ brought us all back together and once darkness fell we lit our pumpkin lanterns. And we even found time for Jude to do some face painting.
As we enjoyed the BBQ the light disappeared and we prepared ourselves for the Twilight Walk, when we wandered around the site with lit pumpkins to light our way in search of sheds decorated as Spooky Sheds.
And as the night fell we disappeared into the gloom with our pumpkins to guide our way.