ROH Wildlife Gardening Course

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This Monday saw the first RoH Wildlife Workshop, run by Lynn at her volkstuin in Schellingwoude. Here is a summary of what was covered with a few useful links:

The concept of gardening for wildlife:

  • Think of creating an inviting and enticing living space for wildlife.
  • Create opportunities for wildlife to find SHELTER, FOOD and WATER in your patch.
  • Keep it simple, cheap, organic and as natural as possible.
  • Aim to increase biodiversity.
  • Leave key shelter areas undisturbed, especially during hibernation and brooding seasons. Dig less!
  • Think native bees rather than honey bees. They overwinter in the ground, stonework, hollowed out branches etc.
  • Think food webs. Encourage or grow a food source (e.g. nectar rich flowers) and the consumers will follow (e.g. flowers -> pollinators -> birds).
  • Keep resources in your patch: Annual weeds can go under the soil, hot compost the tougher perennials weeds, save branches..

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Survey your patch and plan:

  • Get a baseline of what grows there and who visits your garden.
  • Look for areas which are damp, dry, messy, quiet, sheltered, cat safe.
  • Plan locations for bird boxes, bird feeders, log piles, nectar rich flowers, compost heaps, hedges, hedgehog shelters, pond etc.
  • If you like things super-tidy in your garden then there are still options to help wildlife.
Frogs at Castricum visitor centre

Frogs at Castricum visitor centre

Ponds:

  • Kitchen sink size or bigger works well.
  • Gently sloping sides for easy exit by amphibians and small mammals.
  • Plants to oxygenate water, give shelter, reduce algae and provide nectar.
  • Let the wildlife come rather than adding fish for birds to take away.
  • Wetland plants.
  • Bee drinking stations.
Bumblebee drinking station

Bumblebee drinking station

  • Floating water plant bowls.
  • Saucer of water.

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Hedges:

  • Consider edible hedgerow plants.
  • Make from cuttings to save money.
  • Consider “native” plants.
  • Elder babies (cuttings).
  • Multipurpose plants.
  • Leave some piles of pruned branches in quiet piles as wildlife shelters.
  • Birds nest in hedges. Time your hedge pruning/trimming outside of the nesting season and check first.
  • Better for wildlife than fences. Make 12cm diameter semicircle holes at base of any fences for hedgehog access between gardens. Get your neighbours to do it too! Hedgehogs need several urban gardens to support them.

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Free plants:

  • Community: Get friendly with organic gardeners. Join a community garden. Share knowledge, plants and connection.
  • Take cuttings.
  • Split perennials.
  • Grow from seed.

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Wildlife food:

  • Possible to feed birds and hedgehogs through year. It can encourage them into your plot but really they should be eating the pests in your garden.
  • Nectar rich flowers year round. Look at what’s in flower locally or in the garden centers and gradually build up your year-round flower plants to please as much wildlife as possible.
  • Different colours attract different pollinators.
  • Winter is the lean time.
  • Leave many seed spikes standing dead on perennial plants. It helps you to see where the plants will reappear in spring and also provides food for wildlife such as birds.

Some useful links:

How to make cuttings from Elder (Vlier).

Bumblebee Conservation Trust

Wildlife Gardening Project

The second workshop in this series will be at the ROH orchards in Park Frankendael. We will be looking at creating Food, Shelter and Water opportunities for wildlife in a completely different setting. The third workshop will be back at Lynn’s volkstuin in September, to look at Food, Shelter and Water in preparation for autumn and winter.

 

Posted in Bees, Bijen, Bugs, Butterflies, wildlife gardening, Workshops

Corporate Green Days

Hands in pot of soil

Corporate Green Days.

Some River of Herbs projects have been directly funded by one-off grants (such as our Schools Project) but most of our activities are not and rely on donated plants and materials (such as the Frankendael Orchards and Tuintje 77). We need extra funds to cover new and expanding projects so we invite businesses to support us in exchange for their employees spending some green time with us.  Please don’t be limited by the options we offer, if you have another idea do contact us as we are very flexible. The main Corporate Green Day options which we offer are:

A. Orchard Green Day / Half Day
Park Frankendael, Oost Watergraafsmeer

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Most Wednesday mornings throughout the year, RoH volunteers work on tasks in our community herb orchards. These are four beautiful semi-wild spaces in one of Amsterdam’s most beautiful parks. RoH adopted the orchards from Stadsdeel Oost in 2014. We run them as teaching gardens and a source of herbs for the local community. We can welcome up to 16 Corporate Green Day helpers at a time. This is suited to people who want to:

  • Improve the environment
  • Learn organic gardening / permaculture skills
  • Learn how herbs can help wildlife
  • Bond with colleagues a relaxing nature setting
  • Help develop a community herb garden
  • Feel the dirt on their hands!

Collaboration at the orchards

Our orchards are situated behind Huize Frankendael. We plan specific tasks in advance of corporate visits, to suit the needs of your group.

Options include willow weaving, seed saving, rare plant cultivation, wildlife surveys, herb cultivation, building wildlife shelters, barefoot paths, fruit tree pruning and far more.

Cost: €15 per person half day / €30 per person full day.

B. Street Gardening
Ideally close to your office (so your green team can take care of it afterwards).

Parimariboplein

Parimariboplein – partway through RoH makeover

River of Herbs leaders are specialists in transforming neglected patches of waste land such as tree pits (boomspiegels), pavement gardens (geveltuinen) and roadsides into a blaze of colour and scent, to catch the eyes of bees, butterflies and people. We can work with helpers from your company (max 30 people) to transform a local street or neglected patch of land. Perhaps the street where your office is located could use a makeover? Perhaps somewhere close by which needs a herbal boost?

This is suited to people who want to:

  • Improve the local environment
  • Make a fast visual impact
  • Bond with colleagues
  • Improve urban biodiversity
  • Create a street-side herb garden for wildlife
  • Advertise their collaboration with RoH on treepit signage

 

Lavender treepit

This option does involve some forward planning by our team (e.g. adopting spaces from the council, buying plants, making signs, making bug hotels) but it is a task we love and are experienced with.  With a group of able helpers from your business, this is also a quick way to improve your area and to show your neighbours that you care for the local environment. There is ever increasing evidence that growing plants in urban areas is linked to increased social cohesion and reduced crime rates. Greening urban streets helps people, plants and wildlife to thrive!

Cost: €50 per tree pit (+€20 per sponsored handmade wooden sign, +€10 per bug hotel)

Other options
If you would like your business to come and work with River of Herbs but you don’t see an option to suit, please let us know. We are very keen to forge links with small and large companies and are open to suggestions about how this could work to the benefit of both parties.

Treepit improvements

Use of funds
Any income received by River of Herbs helps to pay for projects such as our training days, herb orchard maintenance,  school and community herb gardens, running costs of the vereniging and the development of a new therapeutic gardening center in Amsterdam.

Hands in pot of soil

Contact
Please contact Lynn Shore via riverofherbs@gmail.com or 06 275 96930, to discuss how your business can become involved with River of Herbs this spring or summer.

 

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Posted in Business Volunteers, Orchards, Workshops

NL Doet – Nettle Morning!

Zaterdag 12 Maart, 10.00 – 13.00.
Werk met ons samen in de brandnetelboomgaard in de openbare kruidentuinen in Park Frankendael van de River of Herbs. We gaan leren hoe we brandnetel laten groeien, hoe we het kunnen eten en hoe we het kunnen gebruiken voor knutselen. We zullen planten keukenkruiden rond de fruitbomen en lekker thee drinken. Doe mee voor een leuke en informatieve ochtend!

Stinging nettle

Saturday 12th March, 10.00 – 13.00. 
Join us to work on the brandnetel orchard of the River of Herbs community gardens in Park Frankendael. We will be learning about how to grow and eat brandnetel, how to use it for crafts and we will be planting kitchen herbs around the fruit trees. Join us for a fun and informative morning!

Posted in Orchards