Looking after our precious eco-system and ensuring the survival of native plants, insects, birds and mammals has never been a more urgent topic. Statistics show that some species are disappearing at an alarming rate and the familiar sound of the cuckoo heralding the spring could soon be a thing of the past in our English woodland, as climate change makes migration routes more and more perilous.
When I was clearing some of the goose grass from the wild (but managed) meadow at the front of church last Monday, I was really excited to hear the chirping of tiny beaks from the bird box on the alder tree and an adult great tit flew out, obviously having delivered some tasty grubs to its young. This is the first brood to have been reared in the alder tree box since it was put up at the beginning of last year and although the great tit is far from a red-list species, it’s brilliant to have it nesting in our front garden!
I wonder how many birds raise their fledglings around the church? Last year there were blue tits in a grating near the foot of the tower and I’m sure we have blackbirds in the undergrowth just over the wall of the community garden. A grey wagtail bobbed about on the front lawn as I weeded and I know there are young on Quarry Lane Nature Reserve, just over the road, behind the laundry. If ever you fancy hanging up a tasty treat for the birds, either on the feeder behind the vicarage or on the arch to the memorial garden it will be much appreciated by our feathered friends.
We welcome all visitors at St Mark’s, feathered or not! Let’s treasure the life that thrives here and do all we can to look after our fragile environment.
Today the toddlers came to the Community Garden on their way to storytime in the church with The Revd Jan. Just as in Oscar Wilde’s wonderful fairy-tale ‘The Selfish Giant”, it was as if the garden smiled. Each child picked one of the rosy Jonagold apples that have been hanging invitingly on the espaliered tree and took it into church as a harvest offering. The building rang with the sound of small feet and children’s voices as we thanked God for His generous gifts.
Whenever gardening seems like a chore, it’s good to remember such moments. We have just received the 2018 East Midlands in Bloom “It’s Your Neighbourhood” assessment from the RHS who have classed us as “thriving”, but no-one could possibly quantify the value of being able to share the produce from this small piece of land with our extended community.
Do help yourselves to a bunch of flowers or herbs before the frosts come and if anyone fancies making pumpkin or butternut squash soup, there are some fruits in church for the taking!