Thursday, 26 August 2010

More market mop up!

More market pics!! And this is an interesting write up on the market, the Tourist vs Traveller blog, and includes a pic of the exchange! We're famous!

Market Success!

Hello, and thank you to everyone who attended the Thought Exchange at the second Stirchley Community Market. Was lovely to share the exchange with you! As well as swapping thoughts for plants from the local area (only a few left now - no one seems keen on the poor lonely privet...), I am pleased to report that there was take up of the hollow stem bug houses, and I had one taker for the very interesting bricks taken from vacant land at the bottom of Hazelwell Lane.

I have included some visuals for your perusal (spot the bricks!)...

Monday, 23 August 2010

Japanese Knotweed: usually very bad, but sometimes good?

Check this out! This easy to make Knotweed soup could be on the cards for a rainy day!

Other knotweed recipes include:

Steamed Oriental Japanese Knotweed
Orange and Japanese Knotweed Cobbler
Japanese Knotweed and Sweet Cicely Pudding
Japanese Knotweed Oatmeal Crumble
Japanese Knotweed Drumlanrig Pudding
Endive and Japanese Knotweed Gratin
Lentil Curry with Japanese Knotweed and Sweet Potatoes
Stewed Japanese Knotweed and Angelica
Carrot Cake with Japanese Knotweed
Japanese Knotweed Eve's Pudding
Strawberry Knotweed Pie

Amazing. Let me know if you make any of these, I'd like to try some! Especially the oatmeal crumble, and lentil curry...

Bug Houses and Breathing Places

Thought I would bring these lovely little booklets to your attention (I will have some to give away at the market)... packed full of information and ideas for supporting wildlife in your local area... and beautifully designed. For more info see BBC Breathing Places web pages...

The bug homes on this website look much more professional than mine! And check out these ones on RSPB's site... It says on there "Retain natural features for beneficial insects. Dead stems are good for over wintering adults or larvae. The hollow stems of herbaceous plants, or shrubs such as elder or buddleia are particularly useful." I did look at using buddleia, but their stems are full of pith, which would take ages to push out. Maybe I should have a go...

The bug house pictured above is my attempt, made from last year's dead Japanese Knotweed stems, taken from the car park of the former Kwik Save in Stirchley.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Stirchley Thought Exchange at August 24th's Community Market!

Me again!

Short notice I know, for which I apologise for, but Stirchley Thought Exchange will be making its second public appearance in the area at the next Stirchley Community Market, this Tuesday 24th August, 4pm - 8pm on the car park of Stirchley United Working Men's Club (Pershore Road).

Previous participant's views on life in our area will be exhibited, as well as my mini wild-flower box garden, and the Stirchley Seedlings map capturing where everyone who's been involved in the project so far has travelled from, and their favourite plant.

You will be invited to exchange your thoughts with either a plant taken from a derelict area in Stirchley; an insect house (made from Stirchley plant stems), and possibly other locally sourced items that reflect the potential regeneration of the area...

In addition there will be commemorative badges available to mark the Thought Exchange's presence at the market (see the designs above!)

Hope to see you there on Tuesday. Fingers crossed for good weather!

Hello!! Its been over a month since my last post... so much has happened in Stirchley during this time! The first community market attracted national as well as local media coverage; the houses in Hazelwell Lane have had additional high security metal panels added (making it ultra difficult to access their gardens to check out any more interesting garden plants...), and the Thought Exchange has evolved, ever so slightly... opening up the scope of the project to supporting sustainable natural habitats and local wildlife. Still plant related, but encompassing all those bugs and creatures that thrive on these plants and urban environments, as well as taking an interest in the plants themselves.

Still working on finalising how this will work... I'm thinking something along the lines of exchanging your thoughts about Stirchley for a bundle of hollow stems (locally sourced) that ladybirds, solitary bees, earwigs and other 'creepys' will be most thankful for. The menu of stems so far includes, controversially, Japanese Knotweed (very dead... last year's stems...), Himalayan Balsam, and Cow Parsnip/ common hogweed (dried stems that have gone to seed). If you know of any other locally growing hollow stemmed plants that could be used for insect homes let me know!

The pic is me fashioning some cow parsnip seed heads. They are such an impressive structure! For those conservationists among you, I took them from an area along the River Rea that had many, many cow parsley/common hogweed seed heads, thus not impacting greatly on their reproduction cycle...

Over and out for now anyway!