November 18, 2014

Winter flowers

Some winter flowers on the nature reserve:

Creeping buttercup (we had lots of this earlier in the year, but a couple of plants are flowering again in the mild weather).

I don't recognise this one, which was growing under the trees by the gate -- any offers?

The Daubenton's Kale is doing well, too, in the permaculture area.

The reserve will be shut now for a couple of months -- see you in the spring!

October 25, 2014

Permaculture and fungi at Galleywall

Last weekend we had the last of the scheduled 2014 sessions at Galleywall (though there's one extra one -- see below), on Permaculture.

Permaculture is a way of approaching gardening, agriculture, and life sustainably and positively. Check out the Permaculture Principles site (and the previous link to the Permaculture Association) for more information. The drop-in session at the reserve was a lot of fun, and we looked at ways of thinking about permaculture principles, and at some of the permaculture aspects and links of Galleywall.

I also had a look around the reserve and found some cool fungi:

 The bottom ones are ink caps but I'm not sure about the top ones (opinions welcome!).

We'll have one more open afternoon at Galleywall, on Sunday 16th November (1:30-3:30pm) before winter. Nothing particular planned -- we'll be brewing tea over the fire, and will do a bit of end-of-year tidying up. Come along to help or just to drink tea and toast a marshmallow or two!

September 24, 2014

Finding out about bees!

We were lucky enough to have a couple of experienced beekeepers come to talk to us at Galleywall on Sunday - and they brought some of their friends with them.

The bees are temporarily shut into the frame when its out on display like this to keep both bees and people safe. In the bottom photo beekeeper Sharon is in the background.

It was really fascinating to watch the bees busily moving around cleaning out cells and feeding from the pot at the top. The queen - a real veteran at 3 years old (in theory queens can live to 5 but this is the oldest queen beekeeper Sharon has seen) - seemed to be laying eggs.

Unfortunately I couldn't get a clear photo of the queen, who was marked with a yellow dot.

We also got a chance to feel some of the wax comb.

We were hoping to get a hive at the reserve this year but due to illness (of the beekeeper not of the bees!) will have to wait until spring. Bees are incredibly important to the environment, and we already have habitat for solitary bees in various places, and had a bumblebee nest in one of our bird boxes this year, so being able to house some honeybees as well is great.

Check out the British Beekeepers Association for more information about honeybees, and many thanks to the beekeepers who came along to talk to us!

September 16, 2014

Forest School, and bees this Sunday

Today saw the very first Forest School session at Galleywall, with eight children from Southwark Park School coming to the reserve to explore and get to know it. They'll be back for another five sessions before half term, and we're hoping to run more.

Also this Sunday is our bee-keeping talk, starting at 13:30. Open to everyone and it promises to be really interesting. Feel free to bring along some lunch and explore the reserve a little -- our new Nature Trail should be available too.

August 07, 2014

New sign installed

After many coats of varnish, one of our new signs is up.

The second (larger) one will go up once the gate has been installed.

We're open again a week on Sunday (Aug 17th) from 1:30-3:30 for our free windowbox session -- take home your own windowbox planted up with seeds.

July 22, 2014

Summer sunshine

Many thanks to the people who came to help make our new Nature Trail last Sunday! There's still some work left to do (partly because the photos didn't arrive from the printer on time, drat), but we made a good start and enjoyed some more of this lovely weather.

Here's a few photos:


Small (but tasty!) plums on the tree by the gate.

Beautiful orange montbretia.

June 23, 2014

New signs on their way...

Our new signs have had another coat of varnish (still a couple more to go before they're weather-proof).

For the corner of Galleywall Road and Lynton Road:

For the fence by the gate:

June 20, 2014

Poppies and dampers

Another lovely afternoon last Sunday at Galleywall.

Cooking dampers on the fire.

Poppies in the grass.

And a slightly poor shot of our bumblebee nest with just a single bumblebee (that fuzzy black dot just to the high left of the nestbox) on its way in.

We'll next be open on Sunday 20th July, 13:30-15:30, when we'll be making a nature trail for the reserve.

June 03, 2014

The Big Lunch 2014

Some lovely photos from the the Big Lunch 2014 at Galleywall. We had a great turnout, and lovely weather for it.

Boiling up the kettle for a brew using our new tripod.

Pond dipping with sticks!

Picnicking in the meadow.

More pond-dipping, with the proper equipment, on the hunt for aquatic mini-beasts.

Tipping out and identifying mini-beasts. Lots of life in our pond!

Hunting other mini-beasts in the meadow.

An insect visitor. Another sign that the reserve is doing what we want: providing habitat for all sorts of insects, plants, and animals.

May 20, 2014

Making new signs

This month we were sign-making at Galleywall. Unfortunately no photos (watch this space...) but we drew and decorated two big sheets of plywood with GALLEYWALL NATURE RESERVE in nice big letters, surrounded by flowers, minibeasts, and vines.

We also planted some climbing beans around the bean wigwam, and a sharp-eyed young visitor spotted that some bees seem to have set up home in one of our nesting boxes. They didn't look like honeybees, and apparently bumblebees like bird boxes as nests. So it looks like we have a little bumblebee nest! The bees we saw flying around the entrance are apparently male bees waiting for the queen to come out. Bumblebee nests are much smaller than honeybee nests, with only 400 or so bees at most -- the queen, lots of workers, and the eggs. It's great to know that we are providing habitat for such an important insect!

Many thanks to everyone who came along to help out. We hope to get the signs varnished in the next few weeks and put them up on Open Gardens Day in June.

We'll next be open on June 1st (1:30-3:30) for the Big Lunch 2014. Bring along a picnic and enjoy the lovely peace and greenery of the reserve.

April 28, 2014

April flowers (and no showers) down at Galleywall

A nice sunny afternoon at the reserve yesterday meant a little light tidying up. A couple of valiant volunteers mowed some of the meadow with the push mower after the petrol one broke. We also did some litter picking and pulled the odd nettle from around the path (and one or two Japanese knotweed shoots — ten years of hand weeding and it’s still not quite gone!). And checked over the shelter canvas in case of rain on the next reserve visit.

Of course, we also all spent some time admiring the flowers:

Cowslips in the meadow.

The hawthorn trees are covered in blooms.

Wild strawberry flowers promise wild strawberries later in the year.

Bluebells on the slope under the trees.

And fungi are growing on the fungus logs in the permaculture area.

The next monthly event is sign making on Sunday 18th May, 1:30-3:30. Let your inner artist out and help make some signs both beautiful and informative, for inside the reserve and out. We’ll also be holding our AGM directly afterwards which everyone is welcome to attend.

April 15, 2014

Summer 2014 events

Check out our events for Summer 2014. Come down to the reserve to enjoy the activities and events, or just to sit around in the (hopefully...) sunshine!