Guest post by Cilla Platt, Education Officer.

What a wonderful sunny day we had on 17th March for our work party at the new apiary.

We had wanted to get started the previous week but a foul wet Saturday put paid to that!

Nearly 20 hard working, jolly folk turned up to lend a hand.

Gosh what a lot of work we got through!

The corner that has been earmarked for the hives has been full of dumped junk from years of being used as a tip.

The Education Board had some of their employees cut back a lot of undergrowth and took away heaps of wood, fencing, a stair case, cable reels, etc etc.  This however revealed the inevitable piles of hardcore and dirt to sort out which made using the area impossible without removing and levelling.

We were also overwhelmed with the generosity of friends and colleagues who had donated lots of wonderful flowering shrubs, some bare rooted, some in pots.

Tanya Anderson from Lovely Greens heard of our need and contacted Hopes Grove Nurseries on our behalf.  Hopes Grove grow some excellent hedging in their own nurseries in Kent.

They sent over a box full of bare rooted native hedging with wonderful roots on them, absolutely free!  I am a user of their hedging in my own fields and love their quality.

Thank you “Hopes Grove”!

So, we had plenty to do! A blur of activity ensued.  Some with picks and gloved hands pulling at the piles of detritus in our way.

A long wall of bricks started to appear dug out of the heaps along with guttering, rope, and a museum piece of a radiator which nearly generated hernias moving it.

It is amazing how much space we suddenly found when the hedge was attacked to remove brambles and given a haircut, and a pallet of slates moved out of the way, slate by slate.

The soil is glorious once we found it!

Masses of bramble and convolvulus roots indicate future trials.

One of our gang had brought a chain saw and set about trimming off fallen and leaning Australian Holly limbs in the perimeter fence.  Others towed this into the centre of the site and of course, a small bonfire had to be lit!

There is still a huge pile of branches left to be sorted. What a difference that chain saw made. Another member also disturbed the peace using an excellent hedge trimmer.

The folk who got stuck in to the planting did an incredible job.  It was no mean feat.  There were a couple of hundred bare rooted plants to go in.  Unfortunately, those in pots did not get a look in as we ran out of time and puff.  They have been carefully stashed ready for our next work party.

Of course, we could not have a gathering without a cuppa and cake.  We had a lovely christening of the use of the kitchen.  This is going to be such a boon with add lib boiling water and warmth!

The cakes that were donated could have won prizes in a competition and were happily absorbed.

Though with 20 of us it was a bit of a tight fit!

The inevitable need for toilets was met by the ones that we have been allowed to use at the other end of the school building. Wonderful.

What a kind, generous group of people.

Thank you everyone, who donated their time and their plants.  We are very, very grateful.

Click on one of the pictures to  cycle through the photo gallery of the afternoon. (If there are any more pictures, please send them in to be added to the gallery)

 

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