Wednesday volunteers – Christmas crocuses and presents (?!) from Santa

Wishing all of you a very happy new year 2019!

Someone had been getting in the Christmas spirit over the festive season – as you can see from these two “presents” that were left in the park for the volunteers to deal with.

 

But there were also some very welcome signs that we hadn’t expected to see just yet. Much earlier than expected, look whats bursting into life in the park and it’s only just January!  Is this a sign of an early Spring? After last year’s weather, we wouldn’t care to say!

Keep your eyes open when enjoying the park, there should be plenty more in the weeks to come.  These are some of the crocuses the children planted last year. Hopefully, the 3500 spring bulbs planted this Autumn will establish themselves as well as these have done.

Wednesday Volunteers – The wetter the better

Despite the atrocious weather today we had four volunteers. Although two of us did have to return home for a change of dry clothing before returning for another soaking!

Despite the weather, a limited amount of litter picking was achieved between the heavy rain and hail showers and another batch of miniature daffodils were planted.
As can be seen in the picture, the oystercatchers had given up on the oysters and taken to the grass – are there more lucrative pickings to be had when the grass is saturated?

Wednesday Volunteers – Even more large litter

Today we were planting large daffodils in front of the shrubbery at the western end of the park. We often come across litter when carrying out these tasks, but not normally on the scale of what we found today!

Almost hidden from view was a motor scooter! This was well beyond the capacity of the litter pickers to extract from the bushes.

It was eventually hauled out by a group effort and deposited by the main entrance barrier. With the council informed, we then went down to the eastern end. There,  we aimed to recover two mangled bicycles that we did not have time to deal with last week. One of them had disappeared but the other was placed alongside the scooter for disposal.

The Wednesday volunteers meet every Wednesday outside the Park Cafe, 10.00am, for litter picking, light gardening, and general maintenance. Make your mark on the park. Just pop along and join us!

Saturday Volunteers – bulb planting in the park

Despite the mixed weather for our bulb planting event in the park, a large number of spring bulbs were planted between the showers.

The Trustees would like to say a very big thank you for all the help we received. It was particularly encouraging for us to see a good number of enthusiastic children there as well as a number of new faces. The planting continued along the area we started last year – the avenue of young oak trees between the cafe and outdoor activity centre.

Last year, we handed out the bulbs near the cafe and the children could not get them in the ground fast enough! This meant that at the cafe end we had a wonderful display, while at the other end the display of spring bulbs was quite sparse. So, this year we’ve concentrated on the outdoor activity centre end and planted over 1,300 crocus and 600 mixed miniature daffodils and narcissus in that area.

Considering the amount of rain we have had recently it was quite surprising as we dug the planting holes how dry the soil remains just 2 inches below the surface!

We kept a few bulbs back as we hope to have a local nursery school in the park who want to do some planting.  Last week, owing to the weather, we had to cancel the planned planting by Muddy Boots Nursery but they managed to come down on Friday and enjoyed themselves getting some bulbs in the ground.

Keep your eyes open next year as, hopefully, we should have a dazzling array of colour along ‘Oak Tree Avenue’, and for those of you who came and planted bulbs, you’ll be able to say “That one’s mine!”

Even with the bulb planting event and the nursery schools, we still have over 1,000 large daffodils and other assorted bulbs to plant which we hope our Wednesday Volunteers will be putting in over the next few weeks. These will be planted at various locations throughout the park and there are some tulips and iris for the flower bed in front of the cafe.

If you’d like to make your mark on the park, come down and join us. Wednesday, 10.00am, outside the Park Cafe. See you there!

Wednesday Volunteers – Large litter in the Park

The further we get into autumn, the more the litter problem in the park diminishes.  Although we still pick up several bucketfuls every week, it is nowhere near the amount we had to deal with at the height of summer.

Last week, we decided to litter pick along the beach or should it be called a debris pick?! Amongst the items pictured here were a disintegrating hatch cover from a boat and a plastic crate – much larger litter than we would normally come across – we guess because of the autumn storms.

Should this become a regular occurrence we may have to get some bigger buckets!

Wednesday volunteers – a tasty tomato plant

Look whats forcing its way up through the tarmac behind the flower bed just inside the paddling pool area.

Unfortunately, we think this tomato plant has left it a bit late in the year to make it through to the fruiting stage.

What a shame! If it had germinated earlier in the year, we could have potted it on and sold it at our plant sale.  Alternatively, we could have let it grow on and had real Hamworthy Park produce available at our September produce sale!

Perhaps this was someone’s leftover lunch? Either way, it’s an interesting and unexpected addition to the park!

The Wednesday volunteers meet every Wednesday in the Park at 10.00am outside the Park Cafe – just turn up and join us for informal gardening activities, litter picking and general maintenance, or contact us here.

Wednesday Volunteers – Catch of the day!

Whilst litter picking at the eastern end today, we came across some unusual activity that turned out to be a party from the Environment Agency Fisheries Dept carrying out a fish survey. They told us it is something they do on a regular basis at four locations in the Dorset area, usually twice a year at each.  

It is done by deploying a trawl net into the water about fifty yards out (in this case just to the left of the old power station outlet).  The depth of water at this point was probably less than three feet and it is then drawn back to the shoreline. The contents are then sorted separating the fish from the weed and the fish are then placed in a keep net.  

We were quite surprised at the size of the catch from just one trawl – at least 100, probably more, most of them young fish about 3 to 4 inches long!

We never imagined there was such an abundance of wildlife so close in to our park’s shoreline.  The team seemed quite pleased with the amount of fish they had found and told me the majority of the catch was bream, bass sprats and herring.

So keep an eye out for our finned friends – it’s great that there is such an abundance of life just off our shores!

Wednesday volunteers – cats and flowers

Whilst carrying out a litter pick recently, a clump of attractive pale yellow flowers (pictured) were found growing in some stony ground at the eastern end near to footpath adjacent to the approach to the footbridge. Do we have an expert on wildflowers who can identify them? They have since fallen victim to the mowers, but it would be great if someone could help to identify them.

Whilst a large number of our park users are dog owners, we don’t get too many cats visiting the park. Pictured here is one making use of a wild area of brambles at the eastern end as it hunts for prey. It appeared to wish to keep it’s identity secret as it was reluctant to face the camera. However, it is believed to be a regular visitor and is often seen relaxing in the sunshine on the eastern end flood wall.

Wednesday volunteers – Sea peas and cheeky foxes!

The Wednesday volunteers are always on the lookout for anything new or unusual to report, This week we found a plant in flower on the eastern flood bank that none of us had ever seen in the park before. We think it may be a Sea Pea, can any expert confirm this and how it may have got there?

 

A new bit of erosion has been found at the eastern end – is this caused by the sea or more hole digging by our resident fox?