Bee-autiful day for a Pollen Walk

The weather gods were smiling on Sunday 13 May, as we gathered in the park to look at bee behaviour around the blossoming flowers, ably guided by local Apiarist, John Large.

The idea was to mark some foraging honey bees, with a view to finding them in the apiary hives later, but the bees proved (mainly) elusive.

Walking through Shrewsbury Park – May 2018

We then departed for Oxleas Wood Apiary, where after a short, but informative talk, beekeeping suits and gauntlets were passed round, preparing us to get up close and personal with the bees.

Opening up the hives identifying the Queens, and seeing the way the pollen, nectar, honey and bee larvae were stored was a real eye-opener.

Later on, we even got a chance to taste the amazing honey – a great day with a very sweet ending!

More photos here

Thanks go to John Large – find out more about his Beekeeping courses and Apiary Days now.

Foraging Walk a delicious success!

If you’ve ever wondered how you’d survive if you were stranded in the woods over a weekend, our local foraging expert, Kevin Godby is the man to ask.

On Sunday 6 May, 26 residents gathered, eager to learn more about foraging. Amongst the edible plants were, black mustard, nettles, ground elder and ash keys (samples of which Kevin had pickled last year). See a list of our Foraging_Finds

As the group munched their way through the park, he talked about how the first communities would have used foraging to supplement their diets, eating small amounts from each plant. It is an important thing to note, as this would stop any digestion problems from eating too much of a particular plant.

Kevin works for Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency, delivering the Growing Greenwich project at 5 locations in Greenwich Borough. It allows local residents to attend free, drop in gardening sessions and is part of the Good Food in Greenwich network.

To find out more about Growing Greenwich please contact:

Kevin Godby  on 020 8269 4880 or email Kevin on Kevin@gcda.org.uk

Update: Kevin has some recipe advice for fellow foragers:

The cherry plum jam I made had less sugar than ‘proper jam’ as it is kept in the fridge. To make it I squeezed out the stones as I worked through the pile of fruit and cooked in a preserving pan.

The hogweed omelette would have been tastier if I had ignored the poor advice online that says frying brings out the flavour. If I were doing it again, I would use a smaller amount of the youngest fresh leaves, chopped fine, perhaps steamed for a couple of minutes to soften, and stirred into the egg just before cooking.

I based my pickled ash keys on the parts of several recipes I liked the look of but this one is a decent starting point, the main thing is to boil them and discard the water a few times to remove the bitterness before making the vinegar. Use cider vinegar and brown sugar. I didn’t include ginger as I didn’t want it to overpower the other flavours. Some recipes add curry type spices which doesn’t appeal to me. The harvesting timing is crucial, they need to be quite small and not be at all stringy when tasted raw from the tree, but soon the bunches of keys will be hidden by the leaves until they suddenly become too big.

Link to recipe for Rowan Jelly (ignore the waffle that precedes the recipe, and can use ordinary apples instead of crab apples).

Enjoy!

Last call for the 2019 Calendar competition!

If you have been with us for more than a year, you’ll be aware that we run an annual photography competition for our members to find great images which appear in our calendar. Winners receive a copy of the calendar – and the glory of having their picture and name in print!

This year, we have had so much varied weather (and this weekend looks to be amazing) that we’re sure you have some super shots that you’ve captured in the park – so why not enter them? You can enter a maximum of 3 photographs.

Deadline for Entries

Entries will be judged at our Festival on Sunday 8 July – entries should be emailed to us along with your name!

Image quality & captioning

All photos entered need to be of good quality (typically at least 1mb in size). We’re printing it in square format so do make sure it will resize successfully.

Don’t forget a catchy caption to go with it!

Send the photos to werfsp@gmail.com by our deadline of midnight on 27 June 2018.

Spotted on Bird Walk – Greater Blue Tree Climber!

Our Bird Walk was a success (despite grey skies) with an enthusiastic group of members plus some visiting RSPB spotters invited by Stuart.  Between them all 23 different species were identified. The visitors were impressed by the habitats and birds Shrewsbury Park has to offer.

Nicky Wilson of RSPB Bexley wrote a wonderfully detailed and interesting report and graciously agreed to share it, so I’ll leave you to reading it yourself on this link.  Thank you so much , Nicky!

https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/groups/bexley/reports/

Guided Bird Walk – Saturday 24 March 9am start

Come join this FSP walk led by Stuart Banks, resident RSPB member, for an hour or two discovering what’s going on as the nesting season starts.  The birdsong is growing every day!

The full route will be somewhat up and down but leisurely. Sturdy shoes and binoculars would be helpful.  Email werfsp@gmail.com and we may be able to help with accessibility. Bus 291 stops at the gate.

Free to members, £2 for non-members.

Sorry no dogs, please.

This is a RAIN or SHINE walk!

February’s Quiz Night a resounding success

On Friday 16 February, Staff and Trustees of Shrewsbury House, The Friends of Shrewsbury House and FSP joined forces to put on a (very competitive) Quiz.

A huge crowd descended on Shrewsbury House for an evening of fun and laughter, and it really delivered. The Old Library looked beautiful, set out with soft lights and decorated tables along with information from all of the organisers, and some charities who were looking for sponsorship.

Gallant losers

The bar was busy all night providing the teams with plenty of drinks and snacks to the point where the tills were getting short on change! Able quizmasters Geoff and Dee showed true grit when taking on challenges from the floor for the rhyming pairs questions.

The raffle proved to be extremely popular with a great range of prizes from Prosecco and Chocolates to doggy treats and toys. The event raised around £300 which was split between the three organizers.

Thank you to all who supported the event.

Brrrrr! Spring in the air!

The intrepid Peter and Keith of Parks and Open Spaces tree gang managed to clear out the bird boxes along Dothill path mid February ready for new tenants.  However housing is at a premium for the moment because three of the boxes had been seriously vandalised by parakeets and/or squirrels. Hard to tell.

Condemned

These were taken down and will be replaced. Eight of the boxes had been inhabited, the same as last season. But not the same boxes…hmmm

 

 

Who’s holding the ladder?

 

 

 

Battling the increasing chilly wind they re-positioned the 6 bat boxes that had been refurbished.  You’ll spot them roughly in the same area as before. Many thanks to Clive who re-roofed the bat boxes and Peter and Keith for their expertise and ladder!

 

SOLD OUT! QUIZ ON THE HILL – Friday 16 February 7 for 7.30 start

Shrewsbury House Library, Bushmoor Crescent

This is a truly locally-sourced quiz, a joint effort between Shrewsbury House, Friends of Shrewsbury Park and Friends of Shrewsbury House.  The goals are to have FUN, raise the profile of local activities and possibly raise some money!

  • Open Bar
  • BYO nibbles, to add to those provided
  • Raffle
  • and home-grown Quiz Masters!

£3 per person, tables of 6 maximum. Book in person at Shrewsbury House, phone 020 8854 3895, or contact bookings@shrewsburyhouse.org

Cut back crusade! Saturday 27 January at 11am

The undergrowth is winning!

Our park is in need of a little TLC, so if you are able to lend a hand for and hour or so on Saturday (weather permitting, if it’s pouring we will re-schedule) to help cut back some of the overgrown vegetation, we would be really glad of your help.
 
We are meeting at the cross road at Dot Hill at 11am, please bring secatuers, gloves and any other tools that you think might be helpful.
 
Many hands make light work !  Thanks in advance from the Management Committee

Bulb Planting – Sunday 12 November 2pm

The Parks and Open Spaces department have once again given us 1000 crocus bulbs and 1000 native daffodil bulbs to enhance springtime in the Park.  Kids are particularly good bulb planters…

We’ll meet at the bottom of the main path where it crosses the Green Chain Walk.  Come along and help create some pockets of sunshine for the new year, adding to the ones we planted last year.

Bring a trowel or small shovel, and gloves.  If the weather is anything but steady rain, we will have a go!

Formed in 2006, the Friends of Shrewsbury Park encourage the use of Shrewsbury Park and support the development of facilities for recreation, education and amenities for local people and to encourage a sense of community around the park.