This week in the garden we will be harvesting willow. Another term for this is coppicing. Coppicing is a pruning technique where a tree or shrub is cut back hard, either to ground level or back to the main trunk, resulting in regeneration of new stems from dormant buds along the remaining trunk / stem. This technique is commonly used for rejuvenating and renovating old shrubs. Willows are fast growers, and some varieties can grow between 2 – 16 foot in a year. During the autumn the willows will drop their leaves making this the best time to coppice them.
The willow rods produced by coppicing are very versatile and can be used for willow weaving, to make plant supports, baskets, and the bases for our Christmas wreaths. However as long as we store our freshly cut willow in water ( like a very large vase of flowers) the willow rods will remain alive for months, even developing roots in the water tanks. This is what we call ‘living willow’ and it can be used, like we did last year, to make sculptures. Last year’s sculptures of a reindeer, camel and penguin have become a feature of the woodland around the mud kitchen. This year we will make more willow creatures.
We have been working hard to reorganise our compost heaps, and this week we will attach signs allocating a number to each of the compost bays, 1-6 for those under the oak tree and 1-4 for those in the lower garden. Please remember that if you are unsure where to put any freshly weeded plant material, go straight to bay 1 and put it in there. Hopefully the numbering of each bay will make it easier for us to describe what to do when the compost needs turning, by simply saying something like, turn bay 2 into bay 4, or turn bay 3 into bay 2.
There are still some vegetable beds to clear including the large squash bed next to the wild flower meadow. We will remove all plants from the squash bed, cut them up finely and put them in the compost. Then a 5cm layer of freshly sieved garden compost will be spread evenly over the bed. Finally we will sow the bed with field beans ( a green manure which looks very similar to broad beans). Once the beans have germinated they will keep the soil biologically active as well as providing a leafy cover over the ground which will protect the soil from being exposed to the harsher winter weather.
In other BPCG news, we’re really pleased to tell you that BPCG have contracted with Weber Industries to build Brockwell Barn. Weber will ‘take possession’ of the building site part of BPCG on Monday 11th October and while they have possession we are not allowed onto that part of the site. This includes the back of the greenhouse which will be deconstructed in a few weeks. There will be helpful barriers soon.
Please make Weber Industries people welcome on site. They’ll be using the kitchen and toilet and have a desk in the office as well eating lunch on site. Weber are an interesting firm – do check out https://weberindustries.com/to see more of what they have built . They are makers as well as builders and are fabricating the frame of the Barn in Welsh green Douglas Fir in their Peckham studio.
This is change over week for both the Thursday propagation team and the Friday DIY and maintenance team. If you’d like to volunteer for 6 consecutive weeks on a Thursday morning in propagation, please reply to this email. If you’re interested in Friday DIY and maintenance, please sign up to one of the three slots on the volunteering spreadsheet, and then chat to the session leaders about the site work there is to do on the day.
Yoga with Natural Connection continues for the next 2 Saturdays. Do come and try out Slow Flow Yoga from 10 – 11.30 and Gentle Yoga 12 to 1pm this Saturday and the next on the Decking in the lower garden. Book in advance here https://www.naturalconnection.org.uk/book-a-class
There are still places for our Windows to Nature film and media project. Join Joshua for a workshop on Saturday 16th October 11am to 3pm (with lunchbreak) on how to use BPCG as a resource for your own digital projects focusing on the environment. You’ll discuss technology and gear (or the lack of it), the best way to shoot plants and animals and hopefully find inspiration for your own projects or collaborations with other volunteers. Sign up here https://docs.google.com/s
Calling all would be crafters, we are running two Lino Printmaking workshops, one on October 30th 9.30am to 1.30pm and one on November 28th 11am to 3pm. To find out more and to book go here on the website https://www.
And calling all would be fermenters, we are running 3 Fermentation workshops on 30th October, 13th and 27th November 2 to 4.30pm. If you’d like to volunteer to help at these, please reply to email@example.com.
If you are interested in getting stuck into compost, we are running a monthly workshop called The Composters’ Year – a free Sunday workshop where you can learn the secrets of good composting. This course will run on the second Sunday in the month starting in November and continuing until July 2022. Book here https://www.brockwellgree
And in the Children and Family team, we are happy to welcome back Kirsty Mcewan who is running regular Story Stompers sessions on Tuesday mornings (outdoor story telling and crafts for pre-schoolers – book here on the website https://www.
In other news, Empathy Museum is looking for a new Chair and two new trustees to join the board. We’re really keen to broaden how diverse and representative the board is, and we’re looking for people with legal or digital experience, as well as people who are local to our Brixton base and also people who are movers and shakers in authority – people who can help us make things happen in public spaces.
Find out more about Empathy Museum and being a Trustee and/or Chair here https://www.