Sunday, 7 September 2014

Heavy duty digging

The Safari had a Sunday with a bit of a difference, we played host to a gang of teenagers. Seven of them came in a mini-bus to do a bit of gardening for us prepping up a little used area to make it safer for children and getting it ready for wildflower sowing and bog garden planting. Sadly we don't have a before pic and we weren't allowed to take pics of the crew while they were working.
The garden was originally a demonstration 'Carbon Neural' garden but the pond had been damaged by vandals and didn't hold much water but was still a 'falling' hazard for youngsters so the gates were never opened.
Our kids today came totally ill-dressed for gardening, one of the girls was in a going out/party type  dress but it was she who wielded the lump hammer to break off the WD40 smothered but still unopenable locks - the boys' efforts were puny.
Once in spades, forks and a mattock were used with great enthusiasm and effect. The idea was to reprofile the rear bank using the excess soil to fill the defunct pond - a simple task but there was a lot of pond to fill!
Some five hot hours later the task was just about finished. Stronger wire cutters would have moved the job on faster as would a larger workforce, we were expecting 14 only seven turned up but for inexperienced heavy duty gardening tool users they moved heaven and earth to complete the job - well about three tons of earth, not sure how much heaven!
As soon as we'd moved away once finished a Robin hopped down for a poke about to see if we'd unearathed any grubs for him - great to see.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will spot a few blue flecks of Meadow Cranesbill flowers, they are brill for bees. The idea is to plant some of the usual annual wildflower mixture on the bank behind the seat then plant some perennials in there too to attract moths, butterflies and bees amongst other insects for the kiddies to discover. The white area is crushed Cockles, so their limey conditions should be good for some low growing specialist plants.
The gang discovered three 7-spot Ladybirds, about the same number as we've seen all year except for the vast numbers on the seawall last April. Across the green we saw a Common Blue, Speckled Wood and a Small White butterflies. In-between all the huffing and puffing we heard our first Goldcrest (P2 # 69) and Chiffchaff (P2 #70) for the work's garden this year.
A great day watching youngsters work hard - we can't do it anymore, only 'supervise'! Don't let anyone tell you the youth of today are no good, there were seven here today who were very very good indeed and their efforts will be much appreciated by many in the months to come. Those last awful Phormiums at the back will have to go though - we can't abide the useless things.
Where to next? A busy day tomorrow with a class of kids learning about all the different Ice Age deposited rocks on the beach in the afternoon.
Let us know who's been wielding the hardware in your outback.

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