Friday, 4 December 2015

Rose Buddies.

As you may be aware, the Friends have launched a rose appeal in order to raise funds to re-stock many of the rose beds. A few weekends ago we carried out phase two of our planting, which means that so far 19 of the 42 rose beds have been planted up with new roses. There is still a lot of work ahead of us, but we are already planning phase three in March of 2016.
One important fact we must not overlook is that our job is not over just because the roses are planted. In order to flower to their full potential and remain healthy, roses do require some maintenance at different times of the year. Pruning early in the year, deadheading during the Summer months and weeding around them.

 It is with this in mind that we are proposing the idea of Rose Buddies.

People who are willing to team up and look after a particular rose bed.The Friends would ensure your rose bed was cleared of weeds to begin with, so this would not require a vast amount of time or effort, and each set of "buddies" could arrange between themselves times suitable to them.
It could just mean bringing secateurs and a bag while taking an evening stroll in the Summer, to deadhead a few roses. It might mean pulling out the odd weed that appears. We can provide advice on pruning and deadheading. You could use it as a quiet time to chat with a friend while tidying your rose bed. You can choose your own buddy, or we could find you one .
If anyone is interested in being a "Rose Buddy" please could you use the contact form on the right.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Phase Two Rose Planting.

Despite less than ideal weather conditions, the weekend of 14th and 15th November was arranged for the second phase of rose planting.  520 bare-root rose bushes needed to be planted. The Friends had already cleared and prepared five rose beds for replanting. We began work on the two beds adjacent to the central path. The roses for these two beds were red ones called 40th Ruby Wedding Anniversary. Many young volunteers came to help, especially on the Saturday. They were cubs, beavers and scouts from the 64th Birkenhead Sea Scout group, accompanied by their leader.  There was also Emma Murphy, a member of the Viking Explorers, who worked solidly all morning. Another young helper, Liam Roberts-Bica, was volunteering as part of his silver Duke of Edinburgh award.
The weather was rapidly worsening, however, we still had three more beds to plant up.  The Friends had set up a gazebo for shelter and served hot and cold drinks and biscuits to help keep spirits up. The next two beds were to be planted with white roses called 25th Silver Wedding Anniversary.  All the roses had been purchased with money donated to the Friends Rose Appeal. They had come from a company in Buckinghamshire called Chessum Roses. Each bare-root rose had its roots immersed in a solution of Rootgrow, a mycorrhizal fungi, to help them establish quickly and create healthy root systems over the winter. Hopefully this will get them off to a flying start come next Spring.
Four beds were completed by half past one on Saturday. It was raining quite heavily at this point so we decided to call it a day and continue on the Sunday.

Luckily Sunday morning was dry. Many of us returned to the Rose Garden to plant up the remaining roses. These were also white, a strongly scented variety called Margaret Merril. We had fewer volunteers on the Sunday, but a lady from the allotments on Storeton Road came to help us, together with her daughter and granddaughters, who were a wonderful help dunking the roses and passing them to the hole diggers. With such efficiency, the fifth rose bed was completed in just over an hour and we could head off home for a well deserved rest. A huge thank you to all those who braved the cold and wet, showing great enthusiasm, to help plant all 520 new rose bushes.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Raising the Flag.

Cllr. Pat Williams displaying the flag.
Although the weather was miserable and damp, The Friends of the Arno and Oxton Fields met in the Rose Garden at 10am on Saturday the 24th October to once again raise the Green Flag awarded for 2015/16.

Finally raised.
Members of the Friends getting wet for a good cause.
We had been visited by the Green flag inspector earlier in the Summer. It was a gorgeous sunny day and his visit coincided with a group of children from Devonshire Park Primary School using the Arno Rose Garden and Quarry for their minibeast project. There were also joggers, dog walkers and some Mums and toddlers enjoying a picnic. This all helped to portray this as a popular, well used green space.  He was keen for us to encourage and develop people's interest in native flora and fauna. The inspector was pleased to hear of our Facebook and Website and especially positive about our rose appeal as he appreciated that we were keeping the tradition of the rose garden alive, where many others have been replaced with shrubs or flowers.

Despite the increasingly wet weather, some of us equipped ourselves with gloves, bin bags and grot grabbers and headed off to collect litter from both the Quarry, Rose Garden and Oxton Fields. 

Monday, 6 July 2015

New roses all abloom.

The new roses that the Friends planted as bare root bushes earlier this year are looking vibrant and healthy. The yellow Arthur Bell roses on the left bed have a wonderful strong perfume, making it a real pleasure to weed among them.
In the background you can also see the other two main beds which we planted up at the same time. In the foreground one of the newly planted circular beds can also be seen flowering .

Looking from the other side of the Rose Garden across towards the long border, you can see the Margaret Merrill white roses and the Little Princess pink roses. They are on the shadier side of the garden and are a little behind. These pictures were taken during the dry spell. Hopefully some heavy showers will do them all good.
Work has already begun on preparing some triangular beds for replanting this coming November with money kindly donated to our Rose Appeal.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Spring has arrived.

Our volunteers have finally completed all the rose pruning. This was a huge task as many of the more mature roses were congested with old, dead stems which needed to be cut out. We are still urging people to support our Rose Appeal so that we can restock more beds in the Autumn. During July we hope to organise some time for volunteers to meet to deadhead the rose bushes after their first flush of flowers to prolong the season.  I have created a collage to show which shrubs and perennials are at their finest at the moment. You can see Berberis, Forsythia, Rhododendron, Erysimum Bowles Mauve,Pulmonaria, Comfrey and forget-me-nots. There are also many wallflowers and Lunaria annua just opening. Come along and see for yourself.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

The 2015 Rose Appeal

Last weekend, the 7th and 8th March was the first phase of planting in the Rose Garden.  

                                                                                    During the Winter months we had been busy
clearing some of the beds of dead and diseased roses. The cleared  beds were weeded and dug over in preparation for the arrival of over 500 new bare root rose bushes. Here you can clearly see how the spacings were marked out with canes and stakes before planting began.  We aimed to plant up 4 large inner beds and the 10 outer, circular beds. More roses will be ordered for planting in the Autumn, the quantity will depend on how much money is raised in donations during the year.


By Saturday lunchtime all the volunteers had just finished planting up two large beds.  The first was filled with Rose National Trust, a red rose.  The gentlemen in this picture on the right are looking over the second bed, which we filled with a yellow variety called Arthur Bell. Each bare root rose bush was dipped into a gel containing Rootgrow, a mycorrhizal fungi which will help to get the roots established faster to create healthier shrubs. Rose English Princesswas the third variety to go in.

  The four large beds and a few circular ones were finished by the end of Saturday. Sunday morning began with rain so planting was postponed until the afternoon. When the sun eventually came out the work continued and by late Sunday afternoon all the roses had been planted.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Big Tree Plant.

We all gathered by the play area at 10 o'clock on Saturday (16th November) morning. The morning began with a general explanation about where the trees would be planted and how to plant a tree. A gazebo had been erected with plenty of hot and cold beverages and also a selection of chocolate biscuits and snacks kindly supplied by Sainsbury's of Woodchurch Road. A member of their staff was present to help serve these at intervals during the day. There was a wonderful turnout of willing and enthusiastic volunteers of all ages. Many passers by commented on how lovely it was to see so many youngsters getting involved.

The first trees to go in were the larger specimins along the Storeton Road end of Oxton Fields. These required staking and tying in. Two Council gardeners were on hand to drive in the stakes for us. It was a bright, sunny morning and everyone was in good spirits. After this first stage was complete, a well deserved refreshment break was enjoyed by all the volunteers.

Here you can see the cross marked out in advance so we knew where the trees were to go in the ground. Many volunteers were from organisations in Birkenhead such as the Guides, Birkenhead Sea Scouts, Explorers, Viking Sea Scouts, Air Cadets and Wirral Youth Service.
A huge thank you for all your help and support over that tree planting weekend.

Here in the picture on the right you can see just how much effort went into planting just one of the largest trees, from digging, positioning the tree and the stake before refilling the hole. We had a few delays at this stage as we waited for the Council gardeners to drive in the stakes for us. We were not allowed to do this ourselves due to Health and Safety regulations. There were far more volunteers than the Council had anticipated so the trees were being planted faster than they could keep up.

In this picture we are being given a lesson on how to attach the strapping between the tree and it's stake.

More Hawthawn trees were planted at the side of Duck Pond Lane. Here is our Chairman Gary with some of the Air Cadets and Wirral Youth Service. It was particularly stony along this path and hole digging became quite troublesome but we kept cheerful and soldiered on. Below are more pictures showing our wonderful volunteers.We couldn't have done it without you!