This year the Mudchute Park and Farm are making a natural installation for the Chelsea Flower Show Fringe festival. The festival is held in various settings all over London, last year 400 different locations were involved.

Our installation is based around creating a coherent network of green corridors in urban areas. This basically means wildlife can travel around cities to find food and homes, and not get isolated in heavily built up areas. We want to show this by making 150 mini gardens, and planting them up with various herbs, flowers and even succulents.

The festival starts in May and nearer to the time we’ll be asking for your help to create the mini gardens. However the first stage is building the containers or sourcing wooden boxes suitable for planting. If you have any planks of wood (anything over a foot) or even better wooden wine crates (empty of course!) we would be grateful to use it to make up the larger installation in May. Donations can be taken to the main office, or larger donations can be picked up (within reason of distance). Contact if more information is required.

More details about getting involved in the show itself will follow in April.

Last month we saw some spring-like weather followed by more frosts and snow. As we move into March, it is certainly starting to feel a bit more like spring. Mudchute is looking much greener and we have been watching the first flowers of the season. Cherries, plums and their relatives are bursting into blossom and bulbs including snowdrops, daffodils and crocuses are breaking free from the once frozen ground with their flowers and foliage. Animals who hibernated through the winter are beginning to stir as well.

On warm days, butterflies and bees can be spotted taking advantage of the early blooms. We haven’t spotted any amphibians yet, but frogs, toads and newts will soon be making their way to our ponds to spawn, and they aren’t the only ones that will have mating in mind. For many local bird species it is time to start planning for the upcoming breeding season. The mornings are increasingly filled with song as blue tits, great tits, robins, thrushes and other songbirds establish their territories, fend off rivals, attract mates and explore prospective nest sites (we hope a few will move into the lovely new bird boxes that have gone up around the park and farm!). More photos of some of these early blooms and greenery in the gallery on the next page.

Continue reading

Happy to be out in the sunshine, the young Mudchute gardeners are pictured on the way to the compost heap, to get some nutrient rich soil for their seeds.

We’ve been very busy this past week with a full programme of events and activities for the February Half Term holidays! 

The February forecast has been fresh and foreboding, but that didn’t put off a plethora of visitors to the farm this half term.  Just in time for spring the courtyard had some new growth of it’s own, with the refurbished shop now in full swing and packed full of goodies for children and feed for the animals.

Sheep came out of their pens to greet the visitors, and children stroked their fleeces whilst the farmer told them animal facts. Did you know, sheep can see what’s behind them without turning their heads?

The open access classroom was as busy as the duck pond at feeding time! Cardboard boxes were transformed into robot furniture with a sprinkle of glitter, a handful of buttons,and a large dose of a child’s imagination. All the while,the class full of people were careful not to knock the hatch and brood incubators that sat on every available surface.

Another new venture at the farm was the children’s ecology activities. Sessions explored British wildlife, and what we can do to conserve it. With a bit of hard work we managed to make some bird boxes for our old friend the House sparrow.  This will make for some chirpy birds as the House sparrow is in decline due to a lack of appropriate nest sites, and a shortage of insect food. Luckily, we made some tasty bird cakes too!

See more photos of the week’s activities on the next page! Continue reading