Monday, 3 November 2014

Raising the Green Flag

Friends of the Arno and Oxton Fields gathered last Saturday 1st November 2014 at noon to join together in celebrating another achievement. We have been awarded the Green Flag status for yet another year. Here you can see members of the Committee attaching the new flag to the pole. During the Summer we held our breath waiting for an inspector to pay us a ' secret ' visit and announce whether or not we had earned the right to keep our Green Flag status. It was not until September that we were informed of our success.
Refreshments were provided and we drank a toast as the flag was raised in the Rose Garden. Many thanks to all those who came along to help mark the occasion.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Roses in Bloom

Brenda Holton's photographs
These beautiful photographs were sent in by a lovely lady who clearly appreciates roses, particularly yellow varieties such as Chinatown, Pot of Gold and Freedom. She took these pictures on a sunny late September day on one of her walks around the Rose Garden.
We would be glad to share your photographs with our online supporters, so please send us any nice pictures you have taken on your visits to the Rose Garden and Oxton Fields.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Stars of the Late Summer Border

As we enjoy this glorious Indian summer, there are still plants in the border which are flowering and providing valuable late summer nectar for insects. In an earlier post you saw five eupatorium plants which had been grown from seed and donated to the long border. Here they are in the centre of the picture in full bloom, nestled between phlox and japanese anemone HonorineJobert. All three of these perenniels are both attractive and beneficial to bees and butterflies, which demonstrates how a wildlife friendly planting scheme need not be dull.

Earlier in the spring these lunnaria ( Honesty) were covered in purple flowers. Although these have long since faded, many consider their shiny, silvery seedcases just as beautiful. As much as possible the perenniels are left to die back naturally, often leaving seeds for birds during the harsh winter months, or hibernating sites for spiders and the like. A cobweb covered in early morning dew can still draw the eye.

What a lovely combination, the complementary yellow and purple. These stalwarts of the late summer border are hardy, extremely easy to care for, and quick to establish and spread. The yellow of the Rudbeckia stands out beside a group of purple Aster (Michaelmas Daisy), and you can clearly see how these plants are attracting a veritable host of wildlife. The Painted Lady butterfly is enjoying the nectar rich Rudbeckia, while a bee also feeds on the Aster. On the left a caterpillar is also visible. In the winter birds will also be able to pick at the Rudbeckia seeds.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Two Societies in Harmony

The Oxton Society and Friends of the Arno and Arno Fields signed a memorandum of agreement on 26 July setting out how the two societies will further collaborate  for the  benefit of their members.

Attending the signing of the document were Frank Field MP, who congratulated both societies on what they have achieved and Councillor Pat Williams.

Also in the picture are Gary Murray, Chair of the Arno & Rhiannon Evans, Chair of the Oxton Society.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

One Flew Over the Rose Garden

Volunteer gardeners usually meet on Monday mornings to work on the borders from 10am until lunchtime.  Last Monday we had the good fortune to meet with Ron Eyre who was flying his remote Phantom Quodcopter above us. He kindly agreed to send us a link to his Youtube video. As you can see from the aerial view there is a lot of work still to do. Anyone who enjoys gardening and has a couple of hours to spare would be warmly welcomed! Thanks again to Ron for his expert flying.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Flowers Currently in Bloom



There are large swathes of these beautiful orange Alstroemeria at the top end of the long border which are looking fabulous at the moment.

We have lovely Leucanthemums {Shasta Daisy} which are just coming into bloom now and will be flowering for many weeks. In the background you can see a gorgeous, scented Philadelphus { Mock Orange} which was originally hidden by a large overgrown Escallonia.

This is one of a few groups of Veronica. They seem to be particularly attractive to bees and butterflies as you can see in this photograph and are looking their best right now.

Friday, 27 June 2014

The Wildflower Meadow

This is the Wildflower Meadow, which we have been gradually cultivating with native perennial and biennial plants. In the foreground is Echium vulgare, or Viper's bugloss, which is a member of the borage family that is a veritable magnet for bees. Just visible on the right-hand side of the picture is a Dipsacus fullonum, commonly known as teasel, which is starting to send its flower spike up into the air. Teasels are wonderful plants for wildlife, as they attract bees when in flower and, later in the autumn and winter, finches will visit to feed on the seeds. You can't see from this photograph, but if you go in person and take a closer look, you will be able to see Succisa pratensis, or Devil's bit scabious, developing flower-heads which open from late summer until mid-autumn. These provide both bees and butterflies with a late source of nectar and are also a larval food for the marsh fritillary butterfly. The Meadow's foxgloves are still flowering, but are nearing their end and going to seed, while the ragged robins (Lychnis flos-cuculi) have already gone over. While some may scoff and criticise this more relaxed way of maintaining the Oxton Fields, the areas are on the outskirts of the fields and provide a splash of colour and seasonal interest, as well as furnishing Oxton's insect population with nectar-rich plants and a much-needed habitat.

On the other side of Duck Pond Lane, nearer to Holm Lane, you can see that other areas of grass have been left unmown by the Council, to encourage the flourishing of native flora. The area above provides extra shelter for insects and small birds, the latter of which nest in the protective brambles and thickets beneath the tree. If you pass by, you will often spot these birds taking flight from the undergrowth! Below is a similar circle of unmown meadow, the grass of which is punctuated by clusters of red clover, sheep's sorrel and the brown, poker-shaped heads of plantain.