Our wild flower area has been simply stunning for weeks now.
Thanks to everyone who helped with the hard work to get it re-established this year and especially Michael who kept faith with the original idea of a wild flower garden after the difficulties of our first efforts.
One of the, “It’s Your Neighbourhood” priorities this year is that we plotters do as much as we can to encourage and protect our native bees.
It’s common knowledge that bees have been having a tough time of late. They are vital to the success of many of our crops and it makes sense for us to give them all the help we can. The Royal Horticultural Society has a nice wee video that shows in four minutes just how easy it is to lend our bees a helping hand.
RHS suggests these simple steps to help our honey, bumble and solitary bees:
- Plant nectar and pollen rich plants – those with open flowers that give easy bee access. Examples include Catmint, Lavender, Phacelia tanacetifolia and Sedum.
- Leave undisturbed some areas with naturally long grass, or at the base of bushes and hedges – these are the preferred, natural homes for bumble bees.
- Put up simple bee hotels for solitary bees e.g Mason Bees, in quiet spots around our plots and public spaces.
- Avoid spraying with pesticides as much as possible.
- Take up bee-keeping – if you have the necessary experience or get appropriate training.
On this last point, the City Council is reviewing its ban on bee-keeping on allotment sites and a new policy may be announced soon.
So, what could GFAA do to be bee friendlier?
The Its Your Neighbourhood theme for 2017 is “Birds, Bees and Trees”, and your committee has been pondering whether the site of the wildflower meadow can be reformed to reflect this theme.
Wild Flower Garden in Year 2
The meadow has been in place for 3 years, and the site was initially too rich to prevent grasses and weeds from overcoming the wild flowers. We have time this spring to rework this area (starting with digging out the current grasses and weeds), and would appreciate your ideas on what should replace it:
1 Wildflower meadow resown
2 Herbaceous border with bee-friendly flowers
3 Shrubs and perennial plants (bee friendly)
4 Set back to grass
5 Other (please specify!)
PLEASE RESPOND TO ME BY INDICATING THE NUMBER WHICH INDICATES YOUR PREFERENCE.
Replies appreciated if possible by end 31st March, so that we can prepare for action in the April Community Sunday.
Looking forward to your responses,
Secretary – GFAA
A number of our plotters have used this service. Thanks go to Gill on Plot 64 for the original contact. Gill can give you more info if needed.
If you give it a go, please let us know how you get on.
A number of our plotters visited the very successful Seed Swap Day organised by the Gone to Seed Project in Tarland this last week. If you missed out this year, you might want to look out for future events.
I visited Lizzy Shepherd from Gone to Seed after the event and I am delighted to say they have provided us, free of charge, with 4 lots of 20 seed potatoes to be used on our Kaimhill Primary Plot this year:
– Nicola (2nd Early)
– Pink Fir Apple (Main)
– Highland Burgundy Red (Main)
– Blue Danube (Main).
The different varieties will enable the children to see rather more than the standard mono-colour boiling or baking potato!
Out thanks go to all at Gone to Seed for this very generous donation.
Karolina Gombert, a research assistant with the, “Enhancing Food Security” Project has been on-site interviewing plotters this week.
The project is funded by Scottish Government and run by the Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen and The James Hutton Institute.
The project is investigating:
- perspectives on the values, motivations and commitments of people who grow food for personal consumption
- the extent to which locally grown food can contribute to food security at community and household levels
- cooperation between food producers and consumers
- barriers to and facilitators of local food growing.
The researchers hope that their findings will lead to policy recommendations on community-led interventions and programmes to encourage local food growing and greater food security for our communities.
Karolina and her colleagues will provide information on their findings when the project reaches its conclusion and welcome contacts from interested parties.