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BARBICAN LIFE


have free entry to this third Barbican garden.)


2012's project of the year Each year we maintain all the various areas of the garden and in addition we focus on an area as a group. In 2010, we created a butterfly/bee friendly cottage garden, and in 2011, a wildlife pond on the south side of the garden. In 2012, our garden benefited from the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. The original hedge along Fann Street received a Jubilee gift from the Woodland Trust of over 100 small shrubs and a special Jubilee Oak. Last year our group project was the wildflower meadow.


Efforts by the Barbican Wildlife Group to create a wildflower meadow have been hampered by the growth of strong grasses and invasive plants such as nettles, that thrive in the garden’s nitrogen rich soil. We do not want to eliminate these plants as they are beneficial to a wide range of birds and insects. But we do want to encourage the growth of a greater diversity of traditional field species. The only way to do this is to reduce soil fertility. Following a lot of hard work removing over-dominant plants, we reseeded the meadow area completely - which resulted in a most beautiful summer display of a wide mixture of wild flowers and grasses.


The first scything of the meadow


The at the end of September, when all the meadow had finished flowering, we collected the seeds of the plants we want to encourage and had the garden scythed for the first time in its history - and probably the first time in the City in decades!!


On the day, volunteers in the garden included City Garden gardeners as well as volunteers from the Barbican Wildlife Group. In charge of the day was Beth Tilson, a well known scyther and teacher of the essential scything skills, She began the day with demonstrating scythe assembly, types of blades - their sharpening and how they are used. Scything began in earnest at just before 11 and continued until 4.in the afternoon with an hour's break for lunch.


The main tasks carried out by the volunteers were raking, bagging and


7


loading the hay onto two City Gardens trucks parked on Fann Street. Both were fully laden by the end of the day, with two full bags remaining in the garden to be collected later. The work was hot and, until the volunteers reached the lower meadow, very dusty.


A fair amount of seed was also salvaged and scattered. During the following two weeks' work sessions, the cut area was given a further thorough raking to remove as much loose material as possible.


Towards the end of the scything the volunteers found a family of approximately 8 frogs hiding in the damp vegetation at the bottom of the meadow. They ranged considerably in age and size, with one very large frog evading all attempts at capture. About five were caught and transferred to the area around the pond.


Why scything? After a lot of research and various discussions with experts, including City


Before scything the meadow grasses and flowers were waist high


Scything and raking the hay


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