Scythe With Confidence

Did you know that members can get free safety instructions and basic usage training for the scythe with us, with practise opportunities almost every Tuesday evening?

It’s it true!

We now offer this free to our members and volunteers. Speak to us during one of our Tuesday or Saturday activities and we’ll make individual mutually convenient arrangements.

Safety and usage instructions take approximately one hour, but you should allow for a fair amount of practise. We cannot teach you how to scythe your lawn or scythe to competition standards, but we can teach you how to manage a meadow with the scythe safely and efficiently.

The scythe is silent and sustainable, surprisingly efficient and astonishingly meditative. Come, join us and find out!

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Guided Walk Along The Hanwell Orchard Trail

Part of the Mayor of London’s National Park City Festival

We are very happy to announce that we will be part of The Mayor of London’s National Park City Festival. This festival invites you to discover London’s amazing outdoors with events across the city, from outdoor fitness sessions and live performances to bee-keeping and open water events for the family. The Mayor of London is working with the National Park City Foundation, other partners and Londoners to make London the world’s first National Park City.

Find out more at www.london.gov.uk/national-park-city.

Come and join us for a 3-mile guided circular walk along a trail of community orchards we have planted on publicly accessible land beside the Grand Union Canal in Hanwell W7. We will also take in the historic Hanwell flight of locks and Brunel’s Three Bridges Monument. Please wear stout shoes and bring water, sunscreen or waterproof clothing or both!

Meet outside the Fox public house in Green Lane, Hanwell, W7 2PJ, Ealing (map)

Start time July 25th 11 am finish around 1pm

Will not go ahead in heavy rain or high winds.

Coming Out

Our friends from the Billets Hart Allotment Association invite to a fruit tree pruning talk and demo next Tuesday, July 9th, at 19:00 in the allotments across the road from the Fox (map).

They charge visitors £5 but promise to include a free glass of wine.

That’s a great opportunity to get yet another opinion on pruning or to meet the most experienced Gerry Edwards FRICS, C Hort, MCIHort again.

The event conflicts with our very own Tuesday evening activity of course(Tuesday July 9th: Blackberry Corner). You’ll have to come out and declare your allegiances 😉

We’ll probably end up taking refreshments at the Fox from approximately 20:30 no matter which choice you make.

It’s Picnic Time Soon

There is still time to the Summer Orchard Picnic but no time is better than now to get it into your diary:

Summer Orchard Picnic

Saturday August 31st, 2019 from 12:00

Jubilee Meadow by the sheep

As before, we’ll make this a bring-your-own affair: bring you own food and drink to the sharing table, bring your own children and friends. Bring your own smile, kite or camping chair.

We moved the date from the previous autumn picnic dates in September or October forward into August, hoping on nicer and more reliable weather, and we are already looking forward to a lazy Saturday in the balmy late Summer beauty of the Hanwell Meadows in your good company.

We’ll remind you closer to the date but trust that you put it into your diary now.

Off Kilter

Sometimes we wonder whether we are doing the right thing when cutting naturally occurring vegetation to encourage naturally occurring vegetation.

We do!

It doesn’t take very much to find motivation locally.

Over at Fitzherbert Walk, cleaver has completely overgrown and is suffocating a dozen trees planed not long ago, 50 steps away another group of trees is falling victim to nettles and bramble. Bindweed dominates even trees and bramble over at “the mount” by St Margaret’s Open Space. In Elthorne Waterside, Hemlock is enjoying a spectacular year with record density and size. We see Burdock covering and dominating large areas elsewhere.

Letting things go just lets things go to into the wrong direction. The natural balance is off kilter, but we are here to help! In our small way anyway. Click here to volunteer your assistance.

Making Hay

Folks were busy making hay as of late, albeit the inedible kind that is made up of Hemlock, Nettles, Bindweed, Cleaver and some Burdock. Oh, and did I mention Hemlock?

It’s been a good year for Hemlock, until now.

In a strangely twisted way, great fun was had by all, combined with a sense of pride and satisfaction and a well-earned drink in the end.

Many heartfelt thanks for everyone who keeps coming and helps with orchard management. It can be hard work, it can be smelly work, it can be stingy and itchy at times, it can be hold, wet or cold at times, but it always feels like this is the right thing to do.

If you haven’t yet… you should try it!

Join us ever Tuesday, every second Saturday in a month. See here for detail.

Location? Location!

Are you lost in the wilderness of the W and UB postal code areas while searching for the orchard trail?

Perhaps you are desperate to join our regular volunteer events but unable to find us?

Or perhaps you’re just curious about the orchard trail locations?

All those questions now have one easy answer: https://orchardtrail.wordpress.com/locations (also available from the top menu, just above this article).

Don’t Look Away

Don’t look away! I can’t recommend it. We did, for a few weeks only, look away from Blackberry Corner Orchard. When we returned, we found that the nettles had grown over 4 feet tall, Hemlock over 6 feet, in abundance and with strong support from bindweed and cleavers. So much that we actually had to search for our trees!

The trees in Blackberry Corner Orchard are doing fine, thanks for asking.

We gave the orchard an emergency clearing this past Tuesday, opening up a circle around each tree and clearing the connecting paths. This prevents the trees from being suffocated, deprived of nutrients and improves airflow, which is important to prevent disease.

The photo shown here was taken in late April. We were so astounded by the recent growth that we forgot to take pictures (again!). But there is more work to be done, with more photo opportunities!

Join us this Tuesday June 4th 19:00 at the Piggeries for preventive clearing, and please give us a hand in finishing the job on Saturday June 8th from 11:00 at Blackberry Corner. Now is the time to act before this years Hemlock sets seed.

Our friendly volunteer email service provides reminders and details, up to the very last minute.

Natural Battery Charger

A picture is worth more than a thousand words, it is said. Here are several thousands of words worth of pictures recently taken in the beautiful evening light in the Hanwell Meadows.

We find it quite wonderful, right in the middle of London’s suburbia! You can forget being in big city, with the sound of the occasional train in the distance (while ignoring the occasional aeroplane going overhead).

Join us to recharge your personal batteries, meet old and new friends while doing something useful with our weekly Tuesday Tree Tending activities. See here for detail.

Yellow Rattle Inventory

DSC03603_1Last year we harvested Yellow Rattle seeds from the meadow in St Margaret’s Open Space and then sowed them in the Piggeries knowing that their parasitic habit would retard the growth of course grasses and help other smaller wildflowers to flourish.

We went to see if any Yellow Rattle seedlings are coming up – half expecting not to find any – but there are lots!

We now just have to let them flower and set seed and they should hopefully self-propagate across the site. If so this would be splendid!

We’ll delay the spring meadow cut until late summer to allow the Yellow Rattle to establish, although it’s possible that we need to cut excessive grass growth with a scythe in the coming months.

Next time you’re there, take a look!

There are lots around the nearest fruit tree to the wood chip pile.