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RPA Nature Blog by Jenny Bourne

  • Dead hedges, evergreen hedge and all things composting

    Date posted: Wednesday 21st November 2018

    Dead hedges, evergreen hedge and all things composting

    On Sunday we were privileged to hear Guy Barter, Chief Horticulturalist at RHS Wisley talk to plotholders and answer questions about all things composting. One of his suggestions for reducing the need for bonfires was making a dead hedge for lengths of woody cuttings and prunings that can’t be composted. On one plot a very fine dead hedge has been constructed and according to Janet and Nick it didn’t take any time at all!

    Click here to read the full story.

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  • The Poppy Red, autumn harvest and apples

    Date posted: Friday 9th November 2018

    The Poppy Red, autumn harvest and apples

    In choir we’ve been singing ‘The Poppy Red’, music composed by Owain Park, commissioned by the Military Wives Choirs to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War: ‘In Flanders fields the poppies blow, Between the crosses, row on row.’

    Click here to read the full story.

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  • Halloween Horror! Last rose of summer, wood wasping and frogs..

    Date posted: Wednesday 31st October 2018

    Halloween Horror!  Last rose of summer, wood wasping and frogs..

    This horror scene greeted me a couple of weeks ago – nature red in tooth and claw – it’s not all bees on flowers, peace and harmony down on the plot!

    Click here to read the full story.

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  • Wet and warm, bees and ivy

    Date posted: Wednesday 17th October 2018

    Wet and warm, bees and ivy

    The week after our sunny Autumn Social Sunday was a very different scene! The unseasonably warm Indian summer seems to have broken, with misty, damp October mornings and heavy rain making the entrance paths look like a return to winter’s deluges again!

    Click here to read the full story.

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  • Autumn Social Bug houses, pumpkins, sunflowers, drunken butterflies and Chris Packham's Walk for Wildlife

    Date posted: Wednesday 26th September 2018

    Autumn Social Bug houses, pumpkins, sunflowers, drunken butterflies and Chris Packham's Walk for Wildlife

    Bug House 1st Prize

    Long time no post! It was our Autumn Social and Produce Show 16 Sept and for what seems weeks I’ve been preoccupied with all the planning and preparation (and driving to a wonderful goat farm to buy straw bales for the Family Scarecrow competition – Oakleigh Garden Farm) so little time on my plot was spent!

    Click here to read the full story.

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  • Bug hotels, bedsits and boxes, butterflies, rabbits and foxes!

    Date posted: Friday 17th August 2018

    Bug hotels, bedsits and boxes, butterflies, rabbits and foxes!

    On Tuesday Janet, Flora and I enjoyed ourselves at a ‘Blue Peter’ style workshop session outside the cafe, making a variety of insect habitats with recycled and found materials. These will act as examples to encourage children to enter this year’s Autumn Social ‘Make a Bug Hotel’ competition, open to all ages up to 15!

    Click here to read the full story.

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  • Jersey Tigers and froglets

    Date posted: Wednesday 18th July 2018

    Jersey Tigers and froglets

    This large, hairy caterpillar was discovered lurking under a tissue at the base of my old apple tree. Approx 5cm long with dark green spots, it didn’t feature in my trusty manual, ‘Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe’ (Michael Chinery 1986) so I went on to the London Natural History Society Facebook page and someone identified it as a Jersey Tiger, but missing the orange markings.

    Click here to read the full story.

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  • Ragwort, cinnabar moths and bee boxes

    Date posted: Monday 9th July 2018

    Ragwort, cinnabar moths and bee boxes

    The flowering ragwort has been covered with cinnabar moth caterpillars over the past week or so – I’ve never seen such a profusion of them!

    Click here to read the full story.

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  • Drought conditions, marbled white and red kite

    Date posted: Wednesday 4th July 2018

    Drought conditions, marbled white and red kite

    A few days ago a marbled white flew over my plot, by the park wall.. I haven’t seen it back again, but there are plenty of large whites, skippers and meadow browns foraging on the lavenders, scabious, marjoram and flowering plants that are managing to keep going through this prolonged spell of hot, dry weather.

    Click here to read the full story.

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  • Stag beetles! Painted ladies! Flowers! Bee bums!

    Date posted: Monday 11th June 2018

    Stag beetles!  Painted ladies!  Flowers!  Bee bums!

    My nearby plot neighbour emailed – ‘When sorting out netting for my red currants, I found this stag beetle. I took a photo and only then realised that the creature was trapped in the netting. Fortunately I had scissors in my pocket and so could free the beetle.

    Click here to read the full story.

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  • Bluebell nest, whitethroat, damselflies and baggy trouser crows!

    Date posted: Thursday 10th May 2018

    Bluebell nest, whitethroat, damselflies and baggy trouser crows!

    Latest news from my plot and the nest on the ground under the bluebell foliage – the robin is definitely feeding young! I’ve watched it as it flies into the nearby apple tree with a beakful of grubs, perching briefly on the low branches,

    Click here to read the full story.

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