We received a sack of crocus corms from the two Rotary clubs in Guernsey – Rotary Club of Guernsey and Rotary Guernesiais and Floral Guernsey with the cost being covered by Ravenscroft. This is in support of The Purple Crocus Project which aims to raise awareness of the global fight to eradicate polio. A small group of volunteers planted the corms at St Saviour's Community Centre where they will complement to 2,000 daffodil bulbs planted in the same area. The hanging baskets at the Centre have been removed for the winter and the window planters have been replaced with the winter and spring displays.
A fairly depleted Working Party planted 1,000 daffodil bulbs at the Community Centre and completely cleared the car park bed ready for substantial redesign and re-planting in Spring.
Our first Working Party after the summer break saw a new member joining in, welcome Brenda! We carried out routine maintenance at both the Community Centre and Courtil Sous L'Eglise. Over the summer break the Community Centre car park has been completed and, as a by product, the earth bank at the bottom of the field has been completed and trenches for hedge screening of the compost and general working area have been dug. Trees have already started to be planted and The Green Legacy Project have promised to supply Hawthorn etc to complete the planting. In Courtil Sous L'Eglise a Bug Hotel has been constructed. Maylands Nursery children will be helping to create the 'rooms' for our insect guests later in Autumn.
We were delighted to be awarded a SILVER GILT in the Community Competition and absolutely over the moon to win the NATURE & CONSERVATION AWARD for the work in Courtil Sous L'Eglise over the last 5 years. Ongoing maintenance of all areas continued with the last Working Party before the August break.
We collected the hanging baskets from our friends, the Gardening Team in Herm. This is third year running that Brett and Rosie have helped us by planting up the baskets and we are very grateful. The new earth bank created at the Community Centre dries out very rapidly and the trees we planted need help to establish. We applied a very thick mulch of wood chips from our stockpile as well as laying weeping hose to apply water more gradually which should help it soak in. We hope this will help retain moisture as well as suppressing weeds. Finally, the wild flowers are starting to bloom in Courtil Sous L'Eglise.
The plug plants we have been growing on since the beginning of April were brought to the Community Centre from Vic de Garis' greenhouse, after hardening off for a week. They look pretty good and are certainly a cost effective way of producing plants to fill the gaps in the beds around the Community Centre. As part of the 70th Liberation Celebrations former Bailiff Sir de Vic Carey, a Parishioner for 48 years, unveiled the Information Board at the newly created second entrance to Courtil Sous L'Eglise. There were about 100 Parishioners and children in attendance with the added bonus of several visiting Military Vehicles enthusiasts who happened to have stopped to admire the meadow and the nearby German Tunnel entrances.
We were very pleased to be able to recognise our very generous sponsors of this major project:
Constables of St Saviour
Dunnell Robertson Partnership
Island Construction Limited
Jules Le Gallez
The Green Legacy Project
Wakefield Tree Services
We purchased very nice looking new terracotta pots to replace the recycled tyre planters outside the Floral St Saviour HQ outbuilding at the Community Centre. We were lucky that the Rainbows visited us to plant the new pots with this year's flowers.
At the suggestion last year of the Floral Guernsey judges, we reworked the Formal Bed at the Community Centre to make it more colourful and less labour intensive. A new earth bank has been created along the bottom of the field at the Community Centre. Now that the large Monterey Pines have been felled we were very grateful to receive a gift of several hundred native trees with low pollen count from The Green Legacy Project. we spent a few hours planting them and they should create a windbreak once established that can be kept low to retain the stunning views whilst being very good for bio-diversity. Plug plants being re-potted and the Plant Nursery area being demolished to make way for the car park
Last October we received 800 daffodil bulbs from Floral Guernsey and planted them along the wall at St Saviour's Church. They are now in full bloom, as the picture below show:
The working party tackled remodelling the formal bed at the Community Centre in extremely wet conditions. The established ground hugging Hebes have been re-distributed to create 'half-moons' on the face of the bed and on top, these will be filled with a combination of perennial flowers and small shrubs to reduce the amount of ongoing maintenance required. The ramp at Courtil Sous L'Eglise is really starting to take on its final form. The woodchips have all been laid, over 500 Hawthorn and Crab Apple planted and our new 'Throne' has been created by Ric from Wakefield Tree Services: January 2015 A small group met at the Community Centre to tidy the Herb Garden and another small party continued spreading woodchips on the ramp at Courtil Sous L'Eglise. We held a planning meeting after completing the work, minutes to be published soon.
November and December 2014
We held our normal working party at the Community Centre at the end of November. We finished tidying the Sensory Garden and weeded the native tree hedge around the plant nursery and daffodil area. The Sensory Garden continues to look great with many plants still flowering this late in the year. We received planning permission from Environment Department for the grass and wildflower seed mix to be sown at Courtil Sous L'Eglise and ordered the seed. Sadly, the weather beat us for our planned seed sowing session and we will now have to hold this over until next Spring when the wether turns warmer. We received 500 young trees with canes and tree guards free from The Green Legacy Project for the ramp project at Courtil Sous L'Eglise. We held a tree planting session in early December and were delighted to attract some new volunteers.
Work on the earth ramp at Courtil Sous L'Eglise is moving on. This month a small Working Party started laying wood chip pings on the path surface having installed oak sleepers at intervals on the slope to prevent the soil migrating downhill. Meanwhile, the remainder of the Working Party were at the Community Centre continuing to weed, deadhead and prepare for winter. The Sensory Garden still looks colourful prior to real Autumn and Winter setting in.
The first team gardening meeting took place at the end of the month at the Community Centre. 8 volunteers, including the Parish Senior Constable, spent the morning picking up hedge trimmings from the road outside and weeding and dead heading the Sensory Garden which still looks great. The earth ramp at Courtil Sous L'Eglise is almost complete. Environment has agreed our proposal to plant a Hawthorn hedge interspersed with Rowan and Crab Apple trees on the edges of the ramp, this will be attractive to wildlife whilst acting as a barrier to keep people away from the slope edges. We are very grateful to The Green Legacy Project for donating the 200 trees required to create the hedge, we will plant them in November. We are working with La Societe Guernesiaise via Guernsey Environmental Services, known as Environment Guernsey, to come up with a seed mix that will stabilise the slope faces and that is acceptable to Environment Department.
The log seats at Sous L'Eglise have been completed and have already attracted positive comments from Parishioners. We plan to sow patches of wildflowers by each to add a splash of colour that will draw the eye and attract people into the field. Preparation work has also commenced on creating the earth mound and ramp that will provide access through a second entrance. We are very grateful to Norman Piette for donating sheets of wood to provide tree root protection by creating a roadway for lorries to drive over. The roadway consists of 200mm of wood chips donated by Victor de Garis, the wooden sheets laid on top and finally a 200mm layer of grit donated by Dave Lesbirel. The creation of this road means that work can commence in September on creating the earth mound.
Work has commenced on creating the second entrance to Courtil Sous L'Eglise. A tree that has to be removed has been felled and Chris Stonebridge of Treevolution has carved 6 seats out of the trunk. 5 seats are being placed in Courtil Sous L'Eglise and 1 at the Fief Stone near the former Strawberry Farm to replace the bench that has rotted away. Each seat weighs something like 2 tonnes and was moved by a tractor with a grab. Water permeable matting was laid under the seats to ease the ongoing maintenance burden by suppressing grass and flower growth around the seats. This membrane will be covered with wood chippings donated by Victor de Garis.
As part of the Floral Guernsey Community Competition we have to submit a portfolio showing what we have been doing over the last 12 months. Please click portfolio 2014 to view.
May 2014 - Community involvement
We were delighted that the Rainbows were able to plant out the recycled tyre planters at the Community Centre this year as part of their planned activities. They enjoyed looking at the developing Sensory Garden and playing on the grass afterwards. In addition, we welcomed a team from the Community and Environment Employment Scheme (CEPS). They have carried out work around the grounds of the Community Centre as well as helping inside the building. Some of the many tasks they have completed are rendering and painting the formal bed planter and cutting and clearing the hedge to the north of the grounds (at the bottom of the Sensory Garden) which has opened up the beautiful views across the fields to the sea. CEPS do a fantastic job and we are very fortunate to have them working with us.
May is an incredibly busy month, as all gardeners know. All plants and weeds are on steroids and the increase in growth rate is phenomenal. Work in the Sensory Garden is constant to keep control of weeds and deadheading. The brick bed by Maylands Nursery has been stripped out, had the soil prepared and been replanted to create a dazzling display to welcome visitors. Similarly, a new wooden planting trough has been installed at the entrance to the Community Centre and planted out to complement the planting scheme in the nearby brick bed. Landscaping the surrounds of the Sensory Garden has been completed as far as possible with the planting of a griselinia hedge. Courtil Sous L'Eglise has also taken a lot of time to stay on top of maintenance. A major objective this year is to control the cow parsley which is invading the field. Twice a week throughout the flowering season a couple of volunteers have been cutting off the heads of any plants in flower to prevent seed production. The bluebell nursery beds have been weeded, as has the living willow bird hide. The pathways are mown weekly, of course.
April 2014 - Horticultural achievement
The Sensory Garden planting in the raised beds is all but complete and the irrigation is installed and working. Additional volunteers are starting to carry out ongoing maintenance of the beds. In the meantime, work has started on creating the new pathway entrance and landscaping the area between the Sensory Garden and the car park, seating areas are being incorporated so that people can sit and enjoy the gardens. In the meantime, the Parish field opposite L'Auberge du Val finally dried out sufficiently for us to plant the crab apple and wild pear trees, we have been trying to get in there since mid-December! We found that the row of holes closest to the douit were too full of water to consider planting so we only planted 26 out of 49 holes. The holes were filled with topsoil reclaimed from the Community Centre when additional car parking spaces were created, thanks to Bon Martel for driving the large tractor to make the work easier. The trees were planted with a cane for support, rabbit protection and organic fertiliser added. A one metre square permeable membrane, recycled from the Community Centre car park, had slits cut into it and placed around each tree and bark chippings added on top, this should both suppress weeds and aid moisture retention during the summer months. The Bluebells bloomed during the month in the nursery beds.
March 2014 - Horticultural achievement
Work on preparing the raised Sensory Garden beds for planting was completed by the end of the month. The beds were cleared of perennial weeds, dug over, tilled and raked over. The soil was tested for pH value, adjusted for optimum plant growth and organic plant food was added. An irrigation system is being installed whilst the beds are empty, the water pipes will be buried so they are less obvious to inquisitive little fingers! By the end of the month the beds were ready for planting. The centre pieces of the displays were added, each bed having its own colour scheme which melds together to create a very pleasing tapestry of colour. Already we are attracting bees and other insects into the garden. In the meantime, work on clearing the fencing, overgrown hedging and old compost bins was also completed. This has really opened up the Sensory Garden and revealed the stunning views over neighbouring fields to the sea. A mini-digger was enlisted to do the heavy work and we filled three large skips with green waste that was taken for recycling.
This month has seen the start of our push to master this important part of the judging criteria, representing 50% of the total marks. The Sensory Garden at the Community Centre was reclaimed 3 years ago, it was built to commemorate the lives of 3 pupils at the former Mont Varouf Special Needs school and was sadly left to its own devices once the school moved to Le Rondin. Last year volunteers took responsibility for 'their' beds within the garden and were able to plant what they wanted. The Community Centre management have requested that there be access through the Sensory Garden to the field as they wish to attract wedding receptions in a marquee on the field. They have also requested that the Garden be designed with a view to being a setting in which wedding photographs can be taken. The plan has been agreed with the Community Centre and can be seen by following this link Sensory_Garden_walkthrough_plan_140305. This year we have welcomed Janet and Robert to our Group, Janet has horticultural experience and is setting about transforming the Sensory Garden to meet the Community Centre requirements. Our objective is to create a well planned area planted with appropriate plants in appropriate soil conditions. The first step is to clear the Garden of all plants, saving many for re-use, clearing the hedge and removing the unsightly wire mesh fencing. This month also saw the blooming of the daffodil bulbs we planted in November
This is a section of the judging criteria which is important to us as rural community. Several bird nest boxes have been made by a volunteer assisted by his grandchildren, these have been installed at the Community Centre. We have also started building 7 permanent compost bins in the Plant Nursery area at the Community Centre. The plan is to shred green waste and place it in the first bay then a week or so later to turn this waste into the bin next door so freshly shredded waste can be placed in the (now empty) first bin. The next week the contents of bin 2 will be turned into bin 3, the contents of bin 1 into bin 2 and freshly shredded waste placed in bin 1. This continues until bin 7 contains compost ready to use.
We acquired 2 trailer loads of leaf mould compost from Parks and Gardens (thanks Phil and co!) which used to fill the trench prepared in October for the third Bluebell nursery bed. We planted 1,500 corms. We had intended to fill the 49 holes for the Crab Apple trees with soil stockpiled at the Community Centre but then the rain and gales set in and didn't stop for the rest of the month.
Vic planting Bluebell corms
This month we have started working on the 'Wood' part of the Bluebell Wood project in Courtil Sous L'Eglise. We plan to plant 50 Crab Apple trees on the south side of the meadow in early 2014, the trees are to be supplied by the Green Legacy Project. Our experience of creating the Bluebell nursery beds over the last 2 years led us to seek sponsorship in the form of a mechanical digger to create planting holes for the trees. This meadow took the spoil from the nearby German Tunnels, built during the Occupation, that run under St Saviour's Church. There is very little topsoil (average of about 40mm) and there are large rocks buried below along with smaller spoil. We were delighted that Island Construction Limited agreed to supply a digger and the owner of the company, John Wild, personally operated it. Vic de Garis and Andrew Courtney worked with John for 4 hours one Saturday morning to dig the holes and also create the third, and final, Bluebell Nursery bed. The holes will be filled with re-cycled compost provided by Queux Patio Plant Centre which should give the new trees a good start in life.
John Wild, owner of Island Construction Limited, digging planting holes
Also in Courtil Sous L'Eglise we took another step forward with the plan to create a second entrance/exit in the North West corner. Corporate sponsor Dunnell Robertson Partnership has drawn up plans, incorporating the levels survey conducted by Corporate sponsor Marquis Surveys, for the entrance and associated earth ramp and landscaping. A pre-application meeting was held with the Environment Department to discuss the plans as a result of which some minor revisions will be made and a final pre-application meeting held.
Sunflower Competition Final results
Congratulations to Ed, Florrie and Felix Cooper who win the overall competition - and the Shield!
0-7 age group
Ed, Florrie and Felix Cooper 2m 88cm Luciane Wilson 2m 26cm Millie 1m 69cms
7-11 age group
Sophie Wilson 2m 66cm Phoebe Le Cheminant 2m 53cm Charlotte Bertrand 2m 47cm
12- 16 age group
Jacques Torode 1m 53 cm
16+ age group
Lesley Bertrand 2m 66cm Sue Horsepool 2m 52cm Cocks Family 2m 20 cm We hope you will enter next year ! Liz Pirouet-Douglas
We are delighted to have received a Silver Gilt Award for the second year running. The judges' feedback after the Awards Night gives us every encouragement that we can achieve a Gold Award. A very big thank you to the band of about 12 people who have worked so hard throughout the last year. We need more volunteers though, if you think you can help, perhaps by agreeing to do an hour a week to suit you for a specific task that would be your responsibility and that you can take pride in then please contact Andrew Courtney 07781 105606 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Sunflower competition - eMail address change
Please note the correct eMail address to which you should submit results is email@example.com . Good luck!
Judgement day approaches!
There has been a substantial increase in activity over recent weeks and all the plans are coming together.
The Sensory Garden is now under control and flourishing as all the hard work over the last few months begins to pay off
The Community Herb Bed looks almost good enough to eat (well, that's the idea!) but has attracted unwelcome attention from long eared guests that have nibbled the plants to stalks - anti-rabbit measures are being taken.
The Plant Nursery has a heap of re-cycled compost for use around the grounds and the screening hedge is flourishing. The ground between the trees has been weeded. Cuttings were taken during the planting of the formal bed and these are now in residence.
The formal bed has been planted out and now needs a bit of time to fill out and fulfill its promise. It is a pity the rendering was not completed but we can't have everything.
The Brownies have planted their re-cycled tyre planters outside Floral St Saviour HQ.
The Information Board will be installed shortly.
The hanging baskets were safely collected from Herm Island where they have been planted up and looked after - thanks Brett and Rosie. We were lucky with the weather during the collection, it must have been the only day for three weekends that there has been no wind. The baskets look stunning but have had to be taken down during the gales of the last weekend for protection.
The Maylands Nursery play area has been weeded and swept. The trees have been cleaned and this former problem area looks well cared for.
The daffodils have died back on the field and this planting area has now been mowed and brought back into use.
The wildflower borders are starting to grow at long last.
Wildflowers along Rue du Neuf Chemin
Sadly, these are proving very slow to grow. Perhaps this is because it is the first year of cultivation? The same seeds were used as for the Community Centre and Courtil Sous L'Eglise, the latter are developing particularly well.
Courtil Sous L'Eglise
The Willow Hide has been repaired.
The fallen pine has just been removed, plants in the field have been flattened during the operation but hopefully will spring back before judging. The workmen did an excellent job of clearing up and causing the minimum amount of disturbance.
The Bluebell nursery beds have been weeded and the Bluebells are dying back.
The wildflower bed by the picnic area is doing well, many flowers are out already.
The trial wildflower beds by the lower bridge have not worked well. We tried laying cardboard down over the grass to make it die down and covering it with compost into which the wildflowers were sown. Any suggestions to increase success would be very welcome!
All shrubs that were planted two years ago are developing, some better than others which probably reflects the very variable nature of the soil and amount of rubble deposited from the nearby War Tunnels. A program of keeping the immediate area around the trees and shrubs clear has been maintained.
Plants have been raised and are steadily being sold. We had a stall at La Houguette School Fete and nearly 100 plants went. This year we have provided Mongolian Giant plants as they should capture the imagination of younger and older entrants alike - flowers can be nearly half a metre wide!
St Appoline's Chapel
This has been planted out again this year, although it is not on the judging route. This is an important part of the history of our parish and we wish to continue maintaining a floral presence here for visitors to enjoy.
Update on progress
Daffodils blooming in the field
Increasing efforts in the Sensory Garden including tidying up the entranceway
Herb Garden maintenance
Wildflower bed rotating and seed sowing
Tree felling and tidying
New formal flower bed construction almost completed
Outside tap fitted on WI Hut for irrigation
Floral St Saviour HQ shed renovated, lawn tractor now installed
General site tidying in the lower car park area to remove the unsightly pile of rubbish and the soil heap
Courtil Sous L'Eglise
Wildflower seed bed preparation and sowing
Mowing regime re-commenced
Bluebell nursery beds weeded
Clearing grass etc from around the various trees and shrubs
Bench painted and returned to the picnic area
Levels survey received (sponsored by Marquis Surveys) taking us another step toward creating a second entrance
The formal bedding plants for the new Community Centre bed have been ordered and arrived at Queux Patio where they are being grown on for planting later in May
Vic has been in contact with the Bee Owners Association and it looks promising for a hive to be installed out of the public eye near Courtil Sous L'Eglise
A suggested set of activities has been proposed to the Brownies to get them involved at the Community Centre thanks to Marybell
A substantial wildflower border (150m by 2m!) has been created and sown along the road to the church thanks to Lena
Thanks to Bon for all the tractor work in preparing our growing Wildflower borders initiative (doubled in size this year, we now have over 300 square meters sown)
Sunflower growing commenced thanks to Liz
Hanging baskets (new) have been sent over to Herm where their gardeners are planting them up and bringing them on for us
Coming up in May
Formal flower bed planting out
Irrigation being installed for the formal bed and WI Hut
Brownies to create two planters from re-cycled tyres outside the Floral St Saviour HQ building
Portfolio for judging to be prepared
Information Board to be created for the outside of the HQ building
Lots of hard work on the Sensory Garden!
Repair of the pergola in the Sensory Garden?
Repairs to the Willow Bird Hide at Courtil Sous L'Eglise, if anyone has ideas and can deal with this, please feel free! The tops of the igloo have sprung apart and need to be brought back together to form the dome
Planting at Richmond Slipway
Preliminary plans for the second entrance to Courtil Sous L'Eglise to be drawn
We have agreed to support a Green Legacy initiative to train school teachers to hold lessons outdoors, this has been identified by Ofsted as a good way to increase children's learning, social and personal skills when planned well. We will pay for one teacher from La Houguette School to attend the course, provided by the Council for Learning Outside and to be held at Queux Patio, at a cost of £250. As you may be aware, one of our Floral St Saviour Team is Ali Benfield, a Teaching Assistant at La Houguette, and Ali has been instrumental in creating the footbridge in the nature area. Ali wants to add a Willow Hide this year and the Parish is donating further money to assist in this project. The Floral St Saviour sponsorship of a teacher to take the 'Bring learning to life' course will support this project.
Update on progress
St Saviour's Community Centre
Sensory Garden still has some beds in need of urgent attention, a huge amount of work has been done on several others
Daffodils in the field are well in bud now, flowers will be appearing very soon!
Daffodils on the hedge to the right of the entrance have appeared, they were planted rather late
Neil Macdonald has agreed to donate a few hours work with a mini-digger, this will enable us to prepare the ground for the new planter in the car park and also tidy up the area between the WI Hut and the Herb Garden
Layton Batiste is donating time and his skills to build the planter over the next few weekends
Layton will also rebuild the brick planter that Environment are insisting be reduced in size - volunteers needed to start removing bricks and cleaning them up please!
Parks and Gardens have offered us free compost, we will get a few truck loads over the next few weeks
We will shortly be sending our hanging baskets over to Herm Island to be filled with plants which they are raising with theirs, it is only costing us the purchase price of the plug plants
Courtil Sous L'Eglise (opposite L'Auberge du Val)
Cardboard covered with the spare leaf mould compost left after planting the Bluebells has been laid by the lower bridge, this will kill the grass underneath and allow us to sow wildflowers there in a couple of months
The ground remains far too wet to allow machinery into the field to remove the fallen trees
The levels survey has been completed by Marquis Surveys Limited, this work was donated free of charge for which we are very grateful, next step will be to find an architect to draw up plans for the second entrance
Things we have done in the last few weeks
St Saviour's Community Centre
Sensory Garden work has progressed superbly in two main areas, there are still some that could do with attention though!
Daffodil bulbs (about 200) have been planted on top of the hedge immediately on the right of the car park (playground) as you go through the gates, these were donated by Parks and Gardens
The bed outside the Nursery has been planted with Wallflowers and Pansies
A recycled chimney pot from the Centre has been planted with trailing ivy and Wallflowers and placed by the Centre entrance
A Planning application has gone in to create a tractor store in the old toilet block by creating a new entrance facing the WI hut, hopefully we will get permission soon
The planning application has gone in for the formal bed to the left of the entrance, Parks and Gardens are going to provide a plan to create this
Two planted troughs have been placed under the windows (either side of where the new formal bed will be)
Courtil Sous L'Eglise (opposite L'Auberge du Val)
Bluebells were planted in a new nursery bed at Courtil Sous L'Eglise (thanks to Geoff Chapman, Vic de Garis and Jackie Duquemin) on a very wet December Saturday, leaf mould compost courtesy of Parks and Gardens
Two trees have fallen in the last couple of months as a result of very wet ground conditions loosening roots and strong winds blowing the trees over. We are considering whether we can create a couple of seats out of the large tree that has fallen and may leave some of it in place to provide interest and a wildlife habitat, not to mention a natural climbing frame for younger visitors!
Upcoming project at St Saviour's Community Centre
As we all know, funds are tight and there are none available from the Community Centre itself (all being used to renovate the internal structures). The long bed that we want to create between the WI hut and the store (old toilet block) will be expensive to create if we pay someone to do it and we also need to pay for materials. We propose creating a raised border edging for the bed by recycling the patio slabs that were removed when the old wooden classroom was demolished opposite the WI hut. This means that we will only need some people power to dig a foundation trench and about £150 to pay for concrete in which to bed the upright patio slabs. A working party be held on Saturday 23rd February at 10:00 to work on this bed. Tools required will be spades, shovels, spirit levels.