This month we received our community tree pack from the Woodland Trust. The batch is a mix of Rowan, Hazel, Oak, Blackthorn, Dog rose and quite a few other species that will make up an attractive new hedge. It will also provide habitat, shelter and food for invertebrates’ and small mammals. That aside we were slightly daunted by the idea of planting all those trees- but fear not Cubitt Town School soon stepped in. Dark skies loomed overhead, the temperature dipped below freezing, large flakes of snow fell from the sky but that didn’t stop our brave gardeners donning a pair of gloves, picking up a spade and carefully planting the whips.

So today we’d like to say a big thanks to the young gardeners at Cubitt Town, and the Woodland Trust for donating 450 healthy plants.

If you’re a community organisation you could be entitled to free tree packs too:

Every Wednesday children from the Mudchute Farm After School Service attend a nature club. Recently we have been researching wildlife that thrives in urban areas. The farm boasts many colonies of flora and fauna and we’re working to preserve their habitats. We’re also hoping to create new habitats that will be attractive to species not yet colonising the farm. For example you might see piles of logs and dead wood popping up around the farm; these are to invite invertebrates as dead wood provides them with an excellent food source. Pictured is a member of the nature club painting a stag beetle, a globally threatened species and Britain’s largest terrestrial beetle.

For more information on stag beetles visit the Wildlife Trust’s page:

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Children’s After School Service click on the link:

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.

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