Birch Drive Project - Townsend Environmental, Bournemouth

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The bank at the end of Woodbury Avenue is Blooming

Birch Drive Project - The Townsend
Birch Drive Project - The Townsend
Birch Drive Project - The Townsend
Birch Drive Project - The Townsend
Birch Drive Project - The Townsend

Birch Drive Volunteer Gardeners

Funded by Green Goals

It seems appropriate to celebrate the Spring Equinox (21st March) with an update and some photos.

Some very welcome help was given in January by Jen to tidy up the various beds, and especially the pathway along the former community garden.

The photos show some of the many bulbs planted by Joan and Patrick in the autumn, especially around the gardens on the main green in front of the Children's Centre. Mike and family also helped add some colour which can now be seen in front of the Youth Centre, and Dave planted more bulbs along the borders at the top end of Jewell Road.

Dave is also now working on the bank opposite Woodbury Avenue, and will soon be replanting the wildflowers by the Townsend sign on the corner of Jewell Road. Allan continues to work along the edges of the green space behind Birch Drive, and the little green by our Avenue.

If you have a little corner you would like to see improved, do contact the Community Centre (01202 301556) and let’s see how much more we can all do together in the coming year. New volunteers always much needed. We would also be happy to have any plants that you may be clearing out or splitting up.

Happy Springtime, Everyone!

Joan Richards

Birch Drive Project - The Townsend
Birch Drive Project - The Townsend
Birch Drive Project - The Townsend

Birch Drive Volunteer Gardeners

Funded by Green Goals

It's been a while since our news was updated, but the Birch Drive Project is still thriving (though always short of volunteers!) and this week received a Bronze Award from Bournemouth in Bloom 2016.

This is warmly received, and will be added to the Gold Award and Trophy won in September in the "Blooming Marvellous" competition run by Cllr. Michael Weinhonig covering the Strouden Park ward.

The Project has continued to expand slowly, mainly by adding to the planting in the large garden on the green by the Children's Centre. A tree was also planted there to commemorate the Queen’s 90th birthday, and surrounded with lavender and gladioli. On the back field, the flowering border along the edge backing on to Birch Drive is also being expanded, and the exasperating job of clearing brambles and vine is gradually bearing fruit. Having said that, the fruit trees in the car park area did very well this year, as have the strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and blackberries. The pear tree was particularly good.

Anyone with plants to spare, please contact Joan Richards.

An additional spring-flower mound will soon be created on Jewell Road, where the small garden is gradually taking hold, (in spite of the bind-weed) and more spring bulbs will be added to the garden by the Birch Drive bus-stop for some additional spring colour and cheer.

The photos show the autumn colour still being enjoyed on the green.

Birch Drive Project - The Townsend
Birch Drive Project - The Townsend

Strawberries in the street and flowers
at the bus-stop

Birch Drive Project - The Townsend

The Birch Drive Project is progressing this summer, and we are now picking strawberries from the flower beds where the old shrubbery used to fill with rubbish, with gooseberries, raspberries, apples and plums beginning to ripen too. New hanging baskets have been installed on the new fencing surrounding the communal gardens in some of the flats, and summer bedding and shrubs planted in the border. More baskets are to be put up soon.

The bus stop is now brighter, with Virginia Stock sparkling amongst the cornflowers, poppies and other wildflowers which will soon be blooming. Sweet William are putting on a show behind them and new shrubs and perennials will soon be planted, thanks to the generosity of Cherry Tree Nursery, who donate their unwanted plants to charitable causes such as the Townsend Community Association.

We hope everyone who passes through our area or waits at the bus-stop is enjoying the improvements.

Next month, volunteers will be helping to transform the area near the Children's Centre - watch this space!!

Birch Drive Project - The Townsend
Birch Drive Project - The Townsend

Birch Drive Volunteer Gardeners

Funded by Green Goals

Snowdrops galore!

During the past few weeks, over 2000 more snowdrops have been planted on and around the little green at the end of Birch Drive, and we hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful sight. Thanks to Allan Dalley whose company EMF Creations has sponsored this.

With warmer weather hopefully just around the corner, this year's Birch Drive Project will focus on the bus stop area, which has already been cleared of shrubs and rubbish, ready for a small perennial garden area, with a wildflower strip for the summer and a grass verge to give people more room to wait for their buses. Any additional suggestions would be appreciated.

There is also a plan to have the overgrown shrubs around the blind corner near the bus stop cut down to a low level so that cars, bicycles and bus users have a clearer view of each other.

In Birch Drive itself, the existing hanging baskets will be replenished with summer flowering plants and neighbours in the next section of Birch Drive will be invited to join in and have hanging baskets and other plants supplied.

We hope that in this way we will encourage more householders to join in this Project, which is now in its fourth year, and is also being extended to include the area bordering on to the field at the back of Birch Drive.

Please get in touch with Joan Richards (07866 993060) if you would like to join in or contribute time or donations to help continue the work.

Thanks

Birch Drive Project - The Townsend
Birch Drive Project - The Townsend
Birch Drive Project - The Townsend

News from the Birch Drive Project

Who wouldn't like a car park that looks like this! How many people can pick strawberries, raspberries and red gooseberries as they walk back to their front door from parking their car?

Birch Drive Project - The Townsend
Birch Drive Project - The Townsend

The new fruit trees are doing well, as can be seen from the little green plums, which will be ripe in another couple of months, together with the jostaberries, pears, apples and possibly even a peach.

The avenue is also looking good and the grassed area on Jewell Road, where the old shrubbery used to be, has now matured and had its first cut when all the verges were done recently.

It's sad to hear that one or two people are questioning the cost of providing all these improvements, which are giving so much local pleasure. Many of the plants and trees were donated by a local business, given by Cherry Tree Nurseries or bought with Green Goals funding, which is provided only for such local environment improvement projects, but money doesn't plant trees or dig up roots or sow grass seed. The many hours of voluntary labour given by numerous local residents are what have created the attractive areas we now have where only miserable, rubbish-filled shrubs existed previously.

Those of us who are working daily to achieve and maintain the improvements take much pleasure from all the appreciation that has been shown by many people, not only in Birch Drive but in the surrounding area, and we hope, with your encouragement, to carry on throughout the summer and into the autumn, when we hope to plant more spring-flowering bulbs for everyone to enjoy. If you would like to have crocus or daffodils planted near you, please let us know.

Joan Richards

Birch Drive Project - The Townsend

Spring Update

Although rather late, the daffodils provided by the Council have finally come into their own around Birch Drive and we are enjoying a beautiful display along grass verges and even in the middle of the green outside the Children's Centre, as well as the ones the children planted themselves back on a very cold winter’s day at the Jewell Academy School.

The "Avenue" leading from Birch Drive to the Children's centre continues to be full of colour, and primroses are in bloom on the little green, as well as along the edges of the grass areas at the back of Birch Drive, facing on to the large open area.

The fruit trees and shrubs planted where the old shrubbery used to be by the car park are in full bloom now and promising apples, pears and plums later in the year.

We now have to tackle the areas in Birch Drive and on Jewell Road where shrubs were removed a couple of months ago. Now we have the lighter evenings, or if you have time during the day, please contact Joan Richards on 07866 993060 and give us a hand, even if only for half an hour or so at a time. We need to get it cleared of the remaining roots and get the grass seed growing as soon as possible.

Birch Drive Project - The Townsend
Birch Drive Project - The Townsend
Birch Drive Project - The Townsend

Birch Drive Project - work for 2014

In spite of the terrible weather, daffodils and primulas are already blooming in a front garden which was part of the beginning of the Birch Drive project.

Crocuses are now blooming on the newly created mound at the end of the little Birch Drive Green, which was part of the second year's work.

The new fencing around the back gardens of the flats from 91 to 105 Birch Drive was part of an additional Council scheme for groups of tenants with communal gardens to apply for improvements to be made, and privacy for these gardens was a big factor. Hopefully, Birch Drive Volunteer Gardeners will be working with the tenants to do some landscaping or provide plants to make these gardens enjoyable places where they can relax in the summer months.

The photograph of the fencing also shows another area where unwanted shrubs were removed last year and this too will become a small communal garden area for everyone to enjoy, instead of the rubbish dump it had become in recent years.

The Birch Drive Project - 2014

We are now just beginning the third year of the Birch Drive Project, which was started in 2012 by Joan Richards as a response to her neighbour, Holly Chesterman, wanting to do community work for a Duke of Edinburgh Award. We decided to refurbish 5 adjoining front gardens in Birch Drive and it took off from there. Many other neighbours, especially Allan Dalley, have joined in with help, spare plants and even donations.

Our main focus last year was the overgrown avenue of trees between Birch Drive and the Children's Centre. The unsightly shrubbery and weeds were removed and more interesting flowering shrubs were planted, interspersed with bedding plants such as pansies. Daffodils planted at the time are now coming into flower. The other main job was to remove unwanted shrubs and saplings from smaller areas by the central Birch Drive car parking area; fruit trees, raspberries and other bush fruit, and even strawberries have been planted. The idea is to let our youngsters have the pleasure of picking fruit right outside their doors, having watched how it grows through the season. Unwanted soil from this area was sculpted into mounds on the small "Birch Drive Green" and other planting done where rubbish had previously been tipped. Allan has planted crocus on these mounds, and snowdrops under the trees, as you can see in our pictures. Bluebells should make a show at the end of April.

Allan has also cleared unwanted shrubbery facing the green space at the back of Birch Drive, and a wide variety of shrubs and bulbs will soon be providing us with colour and interest. We have cleared another small walled section in the second area of Birch Drive, which will be made into a garden, and when the fencing is completed round the 8 central flats there, we shall be working with the residents to improve the gardens.

Also, keep an eye open for all the daffodils planted in other green spaces - courtesy of BBC Parks Department - and those in the Jewel Academy School gardens which the children helped plant themselves.

In 2014 we hope to extend into the third small section of Birch Drive, continuing with the hanging baskets which have become our "trade mark", and again replacing unwanted shrubbery with grass or whatever the residents decide they would like to see.

We know there is interest in other parts of Townsend to take charge of their green spaces and if anyone would like to contact Joan Richards (07866 993060) we can discuss what you would like to do and hopefully include new areas in next year's "Green Goals" funding, for which we are most grateful.

We would also like to thank the Council's Parks and Housing Departments for their enthusiasm and co-operation in helping us to turn Birch Drive into what we feel is a little gem of a locality, and look forward to what this coming year will bring - once it stops raining!!

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