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26 September 2015

Think Globally, Plant Locally!



Quetta Kaye (Chair, Environment Committee) provided information for this report.
Are you concerned about the environment — globally, nationally, locally? If so, you should join the Forest Hill Society!

Think globally
On the global front, the Society organised a public meeting in June when local author, Dr David Cotton, alerted us to the dangers of climate change (as published in his recent book, ‘Climate Change — A Wake Up Call’). Some of the questions that he has been researching for the last eight years and posed in his presentation were: What role has the human race played in climate changes? What will happen if we continue burning fossil fuels? Will we be able to produce enough renewable energy in the future? 

...but plant locally
Locally, our work on improving the environment in Forest Hill’s town centre has continued with the planted areas in the forecourt and on the platforms of Forest Hill station, and with the tubs of trees and flowers for the Edible High Road project. These planted areas attract lots of attention and many pleasing comments from passersby and commuters, but they need volunteers to keep them looking healthy, attractive and ‘doing their bit’ to freshen the air that we breathe. Watering plants during the summer months is one of those tasks that needs to be done regularly. Following the Climate Change meeting, Dr Cotton and his wife, Gail, volunteered for mid-week watering of the station’s planters — which they continue to do. You, too, could contribute by pouring water from your bottle onto a different planter each time you pass by — or by contacting the Forest Hill Society with an offer of help.

Despite the vagaries of the British summer, the efforts of our very dedicated (but small) group of volunteers have succeeded in bringing colour and greenery to Forest Hill’s town centre. The station and street planters have looked really good with different combinations of colourful plants, which included sunflowers generously donated by Horniman Gardens. This idea seems to have worked well and, with any luck, a good proportion of the plants should survive to bloom again next year. The Edible High Road tubs, too, should last through the winter and beyond. We will learn the decision of the Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘London In Bloom’ judges on 15th September. [We were awarded 'Outstanding' -Ed]

However, it never fails to amaze me that — while many people stop to tell us how pleased they are with the work we do, and how the flowers brighten their way to work and shop — other people think the planters are really rubbish bins or the plants are there for the taking rather than community enjoyment. In the spring I actually saw someone pulling some bulbs out and popping them into a shopping trolley!

For those of you interested in volunteering, a work afternoon at Forest Hill station is being organised for Saturday 19th September (meeting at 2.30pm) for trimming the station’s lavender bushes, and generally cutting back and tidying up the planted areas. Please look at the Forest Hill Society’s website for more details on how you can help with this or, if you see people snipping away, please don’t be shy, join in — if only for half an hour. If you have them, trowels, secateurs, gardening or other protective gloves — along with a spare plastic bag — would be very useful to bring along. Without volunteers, we are not able to try and make Forest Hill a brighter place in which to live and work, and to do our bit to protect our natural environment. 

...and brew locally!
After distributing hop kits for Forest Hill Society’s Community Beer Project in the spring, we decided that Platform 1 of the station was not a suitable place to grow hops as originally thought; instead, a number of individuals have been nurturing hop plants in their gardens. We hope to harvest everyone’s hops this autumn and brew our very own ‘Forest Hill Pint’, and will soon know how successful this venture has been.

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