2nd Guiseley Guides Upgade Suzannah’s Meadow

2nd Guiseley Guides planting the wildflower meadow

On a beautiful May evening yesterday the 2nd Guiseley Guides and their leaders helped the Friends plant out flowers in Suzannah’s Meadow.  This will help build up a nectar rich habitat to encourage bees and butterflies.

Wildflower plan plugs supplied by Leeds City Council Horticultural Grant

When the Bellway Estate was built the Friends suggested that the meadow at the bottom of the Park was restored  – as it had been in the past.   The area was duly landscaped back into a hillside by Bellway with plans passed for a path to come from the estate, up through the meadow and join the Greenshaw Terrace Path.  The area was then planted up with rough grass,  clover, vetch, birdsfoot trefoil and other early meadow establishing plants.   We called it Suzannah’s meadow after the several ladies of that name who owned and farmed the land in past centuries.

Work on the meadow is a long term project of the Friends in conjunction with Meadfleet: a grass path has been cut along the bottom by the fence, joining it up with the central area of the estate for accessibility by less able residents, the planned gate entrance has been opened up for access to work on the meadow, orchard and lower levels of the Park  (with a kissing gate due to go in over the summer).  And, several local estate residents have put up bird boxes supplied by both themselves and Meadfleet, and planted crabapple trees to help pollinate  surrounding fruit trees – one crabapple is in remembrance of a child who died at birth the others for siblings.

The next step is getting rid of the clumps of coarse grass and the planting and cultivation of more varied meadow wildflowers to build up a nectar rich habitat to encourage bees, which in turn will help pollinate the nearby community orchard .

Johanna and Peter Brooks preparing the ground for the wildflowers

Johanna Brooks of Brooks Ecological and Chris Parapia organized last night’s planting event with the 2nd Guiseley Guides, and prepared the ground over the weekend.   The wildflower plugs were obtained by the Friends through a Leeds City Council Horticultural Grant.  The Guides then spent an hour or so planting the plugs in the prepared ground last night, ensuring they were watered and mulched.

The plants now need to be kept watered to establish them and neighbours on the estate have volunteered to help do that.



Posted in Ecology, Events, Facilities

Growing An Orchard

Within the woodland flow’ry gladed,
By the oak tree’s mossy root,
The shining grass blade timber shaded
Now do quiver on the foot,
And birds do whistle overhead,
And water’s bubbling in its bed,
And there for me the apple tree Do lean down low, in Linden Lea.

William Barnes

We are lucky to have the help of The Orchard Project to teach us the skills for looking after the fruit trees in the Park. We have both the community orchard which was planted between 2015 and 2018,  and trees that have been planted in various places over the years.

In the winter we learnt how to do both the formative and regenerative pruning.  We are now taking on the spring tasks of mulching and ensuring the right level of fertility.

A Cider Ladies Finger tree pruned in the winter of 2019 and below in flower in May.

Sadly the old horse-chestnut by the Orchard, planted by Parkinsons, had to come down as it was a danger – but we are now using the bark as a mulch which will protect the trees and feed the soil.

We have also been recording the apple blossom from the various trees to help with identifications – especially those we do not know.  For that we have help from the Northern Fruit Growers Association

The White Blossom of Balsam

Our next task is to learn how to scythe the grass over the coming months, as we have been advised that it is much better than strimming – it is also a good exercise.  :-).  Let us know if you’d like to join us in looking after the orchard and learning the old skills, parkinsonspark@gmail.com.

The Parkinson’s Park Apple Day will be on 20th October this year,  with an apple crusher and press for juice, and apple goodies to taste.

Posted in Ecology, Facilities

2019 Spring Clean – 24 March

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I wandered lonely as a cloud ……

Well, we haven’t quite reached Wordsworth’s standards but over the years the Friends have planted many daffodil bulbs in the Park courtesy of the charity Groundwork who work to provide ‘green places’  with the aim that People who live in places that are greener, cleaner and safer are healthier and happier.

On this St David’s Day here are some of the photos of the work that has been done .

Dydd Gwyl Dewi ‘Hapus i bawb.   Happy St David’s Day to All.

Enhancing the gate at ‘Old Man’s Corner.

Brightening up Jubilee Walk

Hillside Entrance – photo Vikki Clayton

Posted in Ecology

Winter Work

The New Year has seen a number of maintenance jobs completed around the Park.   Firstly,  woodchip has been laid on the bottom path to help making walking easier.   Thanks to Shaun Smith and helper from Elite Garden Maintenance for this.

Next, we have had work done to fix the broken gates, and to replace the vandalised gate on the Kelcliffe Lane entrance.  Thanks to Ian Walker for this.

Finally,  we have started renovating some of the old apple trees; this one is the one that is thought to be a cider apple tree, and was rather a thicket.   We had the hawthorn tree growing too close removed, and have then pruned the apple tree back by around the recommended 25%  to start forming an ‘open goblet’ shape.  We’ll continue the work on the shape in future years.   Hopefully, this will help improve the quality of the fruit – if we have done it right.

Apple Tree Before Pruning

Apple Tree After Pruning

Posted in Ecology, Facilities, Regeneration

Lunar Eclipse Over Parkinson’s Park

Super Blood Wolf Moon 21st January 2019

Lunar eclipse over Parkinson’s Park around 4.40am, this is nearly total eclipse. Across the moon are some tree branches. As the eclipse became almost total, some birds began to sing. This is as close as I can get it to what it looked like with the naked eye.

This type of occurance is called a Super Blood Wolf Moon and is a rare phenomenon, caused in part when a lunar eclipse makes the surface of a full moon appear a reddish hue while seeming brighter and closer to earth than normal.  Astronomers are particularly interested in this year’s blood moon as it is the last of its kind for two years.

Tomorrow, a conjunction of Venus and Jupiter will appear in the east sky before sunrise on January 22, showing the two bright planets 2.4 degrees from each other.

(Super Moon information taken from the Sunday Telegraph.)
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Learning to Wassail

To get the Community Orchard into good shape and renovate some of the old apple trees in the Park some of the Friends are attending pruning courses run by the Orchard Project. We are also lucky to have people from the Northen Fruit Growers Association in the area to advise us, as well as the RHS at Harlow Carr.

So, on a cold (-2 degrees) January morning we set off to Tingley to learn how to renovate apple trees and also how to do an Orchard Wassail, an old Anglo Saxon customer to encourage healthy orchards:  ‘waes hael’ means ‘good health’.

For us the Wassail  involved, soaking the tree roots in rough cider, singing a Wassail folk tune, hanging cider soaked toast on the pruned trees, and eating ‘cake and ale’ (or in our case, as we were driving, warm, spiced apple juice).   You can also process through the orchard making a noise with pots and pans to drive away ‘bad spirits’, and dress up as mummers.

An Orchard Wassail is done on ‘Twelfth Night’ – although this could be the modern calendar date of 6th January or the old calendar of 17th January.  We thought that next year we’d give it a go and have our own Parkinson’s Park wassail event.

If anyone would like to help organize it let us know – parkinsonspark@gmail.com.

Posted in Ecology, Events