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April Newsletter

In this month’s newsletter:

  • TH green drinks topic: keeping bees

  • TH summer barbecue

  • community allotment: wanted helpers and equipment

  • and more!

Green Drinks topic in May: Keeping bees

The theme of May’s green drinks is keeping bees.

Dave Elliott, Head Ranger, Black Down, National Trust, will talk us through the joys and practicalities of keeping bees.  Thursday 4 May, 7.30pm, Royal Oak, Critchmere Hill

Future themes for our green drinks are:

Keeping chickens – Thursday 1 June, led by Jane Devlin

Trees and climate change – Thursday 7 September, lead by Clive Davidson

Running a small market garden – Thursday 5 October, led by Ed Brooks

Summer barbecue

July’s green drinks will be combined with our summer barbecue, on Friday 14 July from 6.30pm at Swan Barn, where the theme will be enjoying ourselves. All welcome. Bring your own food and drink. We provide the fire; the National Trust provides the view.

Soil – online resources

Notes from our recent informative and lively discussion on soil are now up on our website here.

Community allotment – helpers and equipment wanted

Want to be involved in growing a vegetable garden? Join our community allotment group – no experience necessary. We are planning to hold community working parties from end of this month. To find out about dates and how to join us for an event, please sign up for our TH Allotment Updates here.

You can register to join us on Saturday,  April 29th here.

Also, we still need more garden tools, watering cans, plastic trays for seedlings, guttering (excellent for pea seedlings) and roof felt for our little palette shed. Let us know if you have any to offer or want to join us by emailing us at info@transitionhaslemere.org.

Wanted – unwanted books

We sold nearly 40 books at the farmers’ market earlier this month and need to replenish our stock. We take all sorts, but are particularly looking for newish popular novels, children’s books and recent or classic cookbooks. A quarter of the profits goes to sponsoring trees in the National Trust’s orchard at Swan Barn and the rest towards our projects, such as our community garden. We will collect your books, or you can drop them off in central Haslemere. Contact us at info@transitionhaslemere.org.

Come listen to the dawn chorus with us

Wake up with the birds and join us to celebrate International Dawn Chorus Day. This is the time of year when the birds are at their most joyously vocal. We will be gathering in a wood near Grayswood from 4.30am on Sunday 7 May. Followed by coffee and toast round the campfire. For details of where to meet and to let us know you are coming email info@transitionhaslemere.org.

Chiddgreen AGM

The Chiddgreen AGM will take place on Wednesday 10 May at The Barn (nursery and afterschool club) on Coombe Lane in Chiddingfold. Meet at 6.30pm for a bluebell walk through a woodland planted 20 years ago, followed by drinks and nibbles and the meeting. Please let us know you are coming by emailing info@chiddgreen.org.uk.
(Note that the date is different from the one in last month’s newsletter.)

Link of the month

Following on from our green drinks discussion, here is a short video about the value and importance of healthy soil:


Movie: Before the Flood

Energy Alton is showing Before the Flood, a National Geographic documentary on climate change featuring Leonardo DiCaprio. Monday 15 May, 7.30pm, Wesley Room, Alton Maltings, GU3 1DT. For more information email energyalton@gmail.com.

Tree corner: Wild crab apple

In among the hedgerows and woodland around Haslemere you will find the native crab apple (Malus sylvestris) just coming into bloom with its pretty white flowers. Although associated with love and marriage in mythology, wild crab apples tend to grow singly. They will live up to 100 years, becoming gnarled, twisted and crabby – hence, possibly, the name. The fruits can be used to make crab apple jelly, or for their pectin in jams, or added to ales and punches. They are often planted in orchards as pollination partners for cultivated apples (which originally came from Kazakhstan via the Silk Road and the Romans).
Photo shows a crab apple in bloom near Furzefield, Haslemere

March 2017

In this month’s newsletter:

  • Soil – the theme of next month’s green drinks April 6th.

  • What we learned about plastic-free living

  • A report on TH’s community allotment

  • and more…

Soil – The Essence of Gardening
This month’s theme TH
 green drinks is all about soil.

Soils are the Earth’s dynamic ‘skin’ and an essential resource for human societies and most other ecologies worldwide. The quality of soil derives from a complex interaction of physical, chemical and biological processes which enable plants to get the water and minerals they need to be healthy and grow. So most of our food emerges from this soil-based foundation and life would be unimaginably different without it.

Hilary Neilson has spent most of her life up to the elbows in soil, so join her and other Transition group members at green drinks to extend your roots further into this marvellous and mysterious material, and share ways to improve the soil of your garden or allotment. Thursday 6 April, Royal Oak, Critchmere Hill

Plastic-free living – online resources

We learned a lot from Brigitte Kaltenbacher at March green drinks about how to reduce, reuse, recycle and rot plastic. You can find her notes with useful background and tips at: Plastic free living

Community allotment – an exciting start

Our first month at the allotment has been exciting, with ideas in the air now becoming plans on the ground. We are very grateful to Surrey County Councillor Nikki Barton for supporting us with a grant to help with set-up costs. The ‘allotmenteers’ have been meeting regularly despite cold weather and wet soil conditions. We have made a good start and are nearly ready to begin planting.

First tasks were to prune shrubs and trees on the plot, and clear a lot of rubbish away – broken glass, torn plastic compost bags, and even a trampoline cover. An old cold frame has been brought back into use and blackcurrant bushes and raspberry canes dug up for replanting. This clearance stage is almost complete.

It gradually became clear which parts of the site might be used for what. Wildlife area, fruit and vegetables, a toolbox or shed and, importantly, the sitting/social area. We also have to decide soon on the best layout of beds for vegetables, since some are already germinating on our windowsills and the season is advancing rapidly! We all have enthusiasms and an eagerness to try different growing systems and want to be as experimental and inclusive as we can while remaining organic.

We have also met our allotment neighbours and other growers at Collards Lane, and are already beginning to feel a part of the community. We hope other members will join us as the season progresses. For the moment, we meet on Wednesday or Saturday mornings 10 am – 12 noon.

Get in touch by emailing us: info@transitionhaslemere.org

Tree corner: blackthorn

For the past few weeks, blackthorn has been gracing our hedgerows and roadsides with its lovely white flowers, as the poet John F Deane describes:

“Blackthorn bushes in their shrouds of white
stir abroad, like familial, kindly ghosts
who tell us they they are angels now”

Link of the month – Our World

A new feature of our newsletter will be a link to a website with interesting and useful information about climate change, green community activities and sustainability. There are an enormous number of such sites out there, so we are starting more or less randomly with one we came across recently.

Our World is the magazine of the United Nations University and is focused on solutions to the global challenges of climate change, energy, food security, and biodiversity loss. You will find it at: ourworld.unu.edu/en/about

Surrey Wildlife Trust Rangers – an endangered species

Surrey Wildlife Trust has recently announced that it will be making all its rangers/wardens redundant in an attempt to save money after drastic cuts in its central and local government funding. We endanger our way of life and our children’s inheritance when we fail to protect our wildlife and their habitats. Surrey Wildlife Trust rangers play an important role in maintaining and protecting our natural environment in Surrey. A petition to save the rangers/wardens is at:

Chiddgreen AGM

Tuesday 25th April. Save the date – more information in next month’s newsletter.

Great news for the TH community allotment team this month!

Screen Shot 02-18-17 at 12.16 PM

Thanks to Nikki Barton, Independent Surrey County Council Councillor for Haslemere, for awarding a £300 grant. The allotment team will use the money to buy gardening equipment and tools. We soon hope to welcome everyone, and we are happy to share gardening skills.

February 2017

 TH community allotment in the making

A few years ago TH put its name down for an allotment. Having all but forgotten about this, we were excited when some allotments came up at Collards Lane. Following a visit, we put forward our preferences and were delighted to be awarded our first choice plot.

So here we are, with a brand new allotment. It is a lovely plot, laid to lawn with a couple of small trees in the middle and some roses and other shrubs one end. A small group of TH gardeners met on Friday to discuss the way forward. Over the next few weeks we will have to clear rubbish, set up a couple of raised beds and a compost area, and start growing seedlings on windowsills.

To knock the garden into shape we need certain items, and before we buy anything we would like to ask if you have any of these that you no longer need:
– garden shed
– gardening tools
– wheelbarrow
– gardening hose

If the answer is ‘yes’, then please get in touch by emailing us info@transitionhaslemere.org.uk We’d be thrilled to hear from you!

In due course we will let you know about community gardening sessions. However, if anyone would like to commit to regular hard work right now, to get this off the ground and be part of the TH community garden from the start, you can contact us via email info@transitionhaslemere.org.uk, and we will let you know what we are up to. Also, we will hold a seed-swap at the next Green Drinks, a good opportunity to meet us!


Green drinks theme – Plastic free living

We are going to have a theme for discussion for part of the evening at our green drinks gatherings from now on. Starting in March, our first theme is: ‘How can we reduce the amount of plastic in our lives?’

Plastic is everywhere. The trouble is it doesn’t bio-degrade, it’s made from unsustainable petrochemicals and we are in contact with it so much every day that it is already in our bloodstreams. Brigitte Kaltenbacher has been on a mission to reduce the plastic coming into her home and will share practical ways to reduce the amount of plastic we use and what the eco-friendly alternatives could be.

Please join us at the Royal Oak, Critchmere Lane, on Thursday 2 March from 7.30pm

[update] – missed the chat? You can read the notes here: Plastic free living


Tree corner: Buds prepare for Spring

One of the most conspicuous events at this time of the year is the emergence of bright yellow catkins dangling from hazel trees. These are male flowers carrying pollen. You have to get up close to the stems to see the female flowers, which are tiny with little red styles. Hazel does not flower if shaded, which is why you can often see the catkins on roadside trees open to the sun, but not in woodland.

It is also a good time to look at the buds of trees as they prepare to open into flower or leaf. The buds are often distinctive. Ash has black buds like dirty fingernails; oaks have clusters of little egg-shaped buds. Beech and hornbeam have similar long thin buds; the beech lying flat against the stem, the hornbeam standing proud. The king is the horse chestnut, with big fat sticky buds that glisten in the winter sun – see photo.

Green Drinks – February

We will be meeting for green drinks on Thursday 2nd February 7.30pm – 10pm at The Royal Oak in Critchmere Lane, Haslemere.

We have just been allocated an allotment in Collards Lane, Haslemere, and we will be making plans for how to develop it. If you are interested in community vegetable growing, please join us.

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