24 March 2021

Rubble, Frogs and Mince Pies: The December Workday on Albion Millennium Green

By Jorella Andrews, Chair of the Albion Millennium Green Trust

Saturday 12th December dawned fresh, cool and dry after a night of rain — ideal conditions for the work of digging and clearing we were carrying out on the Green, in preparation for planting a hedge along the Green's boundary with the recently extended housing development of Longfield Crescent. In fact, according to an 1870 map tracked down by Sheila Carson, Secretary of the Friends of Albion Millennium Green, we will be rejuvenating part of an old boundary line consisting of hawthorn trees that once ran from the railway line, along what is now the south side of the Green, up the south side of Redberry Grove, and on to meet Sydenham Park Road. 

Some of these trees are still living. We plan to reduce them in height and insert new hedging plants, between and slightly in front of them, with the aim of growing a new thick, mixed-species hedge. The hedge should provide food (hawthorn, holly and wild privet berries, rosehips, and hazelnuts) and nesting sites for birds, as well as sloes which could be foraged for gin-making. But before we can plant, we need to remove an expanse of bricks, rubble and lumps of cement that have been dumped onto the land over time and are now buried underneath it, shrouded by overlying brambles. Then we need to prepare the ground before planting next winter. 

On our workday, as we forked energetically into the earth and turned it over, we were conscious of the small lives we were disturbing: fleshy worms, wood beetles, spiders, slugs, and the acrobatic frogs, which would suddenly leap into view. We relocated the latter to a safe spot close to the Green’s pond.

We had a fantastic (socially-distanced) workout, cheered along by good conversation, coffee and mince pies. If this sounds appealing, look out for our next socially-distanced workdays on the second Saturday of each month. We meet at 10.30am in the area of the Green adjacent to Albion Villas Road. Bring gardening gloves and sturdy footwear. Even if you are only able to stay for an hour or so, we will gladly appreciate your company and your help.

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