Greenkeeper's Update - April & May 2017

After two months of negligible rainfall the Green has finally had a good soaking. This will bring the wildflowers into bloom and encourage recently sown wildflower seed to germinate. Already in the meadow areas lots of yellow flowers are out such as Wild Mustard and Corn Marigolds whilst Oxe-eye daisies and Knapweed provide a mauve and white backdrop. Around the pond Yellow Flag irises are in full bloom and one can see splashes of pink with Ragged Robins and Campions.The improvement works on the Green have now virtually finished. Paths have been moved to accommodate tree roots and re-surfaced to remove trip hazards and make key access spots friendly to those with disabilities. A totem pole has been installed as a meeting point with a smaller carving of different wild animals installed at each entrance to the Green. As well as enriching the environment aesthetically these carvings are designed to be recognisable and memorable to those suffering from Dementia and can aid navigation. As well as the paths the hard standing down to the water’s edge has now all been resurfaced and new timbers installed and a large triangular wooden planter built. This has been planted out with geraniums for the summer but in autumn/winter it will be replanted by LBRuT with perennial plants that are drought resistant, sensory, and have long flowering periods. There remains a picnic bench to be installed near the OSO but largely the work is finished. There may also be some further turfing and grass seeding so to reduce this need please try and avoid walking on newly sown patches. There will also be a section of The Crescent hedge being replanted as well as some maintenance works carried out on the pond pump system. The bird breeding season is well under way and I expect most people will have seen the star attractions- the seven cygnets, four of which are of the white colour variant. Despite a recent dog attack on the family they seem to be faring well. Following that attack the female was examined on site by a member of the Swan Sanctuary team and passed fit if a little shaken and short of some feathers. LBRuT and the BCA have done their own press releases on the subject and new warning signs will soon be in place around the pond. In the meantime we ask people to please keep dogs under control in the vicinity of the pond, and consider keeping them on leads during the breeding season from March till August. There remain 7 Egyptian goslings and some moorhen and coot chicks can also be seen presently. All the mallard and tufted duck chicks have so far been predated by herring gulls, crows, and the heron though pairs will of course lay again. One notable bird not often seen on the pond is the Pochard of which there have been 5 individuals recently with one pair constantly on site and perhaps nesting. Recent events have all gone well such as the Barnes Duck Race and the Children’s Literature Festival which attracted up to 8000 people. Look out for the forthcoming Barnes Fair on July 8th and Barnes in Bloom which is judged on 11th July.