St Mark's Mansfield


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Snake’s head fritillary

WP_20180415_09_05_43_ProAgainst the backdrop of the warm stone church wall, this tableau appears like a small miracle each year in April.

Fritillaria meleagris is a Eurasian species of flowering plant in the lily family.   Its common names include snake’s head fritillary, snake’s head (the original English name), chess flower, frog-cup, guinea-hen flower, leper lily (because its shape resembled the bell once carried by lepers), Lazarus bell, chequered daffodil, drooping tulip or, in northern Europe, simply fritillary.   What a star!

Why not take a walk around the front of the church and see what’s coming up through the grass?   There’s never a dull moment – it’s like a stage where the players are constantly changing.   Don’t miss the show – it doesn’t cost a thing!

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Come and See – Our Easter Garden 2018 (from Isobel)

 

Our Easter garden – work in progress

As several people have asked me where the Easter garden is actually situated, I took a photo yesterday while Sheila and I were working in this gloriously sunny corner near the church tower.   The scent of winter honeysuckle blossom was wafting across on the warm air and the spring flowers looked beautiful.

Come and see for yourself.   On a mild day you’ll be led by the nose as you wander past the vestry door and between the driveway and the tower.  You might be enticed to sit awhile, the shadows of Gethsemane behind you and the sun on your face.   It’s still work in progress; all the pebbles we’ve decorated will be used to line the way, each one a unique offering to our Lord.   You may even find a little long-suffering four-footed friend ambling along the sandy path!

The whole garden is coming alive.   The greenhouse is full of seeds sprouting, daffodils are nodding their golden heads, birds are eyeing up the nest boxes and the wildlife pond, which was only filled on Sunday had a blackbird perched on the edge on Monday morning, dipping its beak full of nesting material into the water.

We’d love you to come and have a look.   You may even find there’s something you’d like to contribute to the garden’s evolution.  Watch this space for pictures of how the Community Garden has changed over the last 10 years!

 


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Location, location!

 

coal tit

The British Trust for Ornothology’s National Nest Box Week (14-21 February) has prompted us to add  a new bird box in the Community Garden.   John O’Leary has skilfully made and put up a lovely box for coal tits and blue tits on the wall near to the greenhouse and I’m sure it will attract some of the feathered friends who are already using our bird feeders.   The other nest box, constructed and kindly donated by Colin from the Maun Conservation Group, was put up by Alan on the alder tree in the wild meadow at the front of church last autumn.   Keep an eye out for any new visitors to these ‘des res’!

We also have a smart Belfast sink installed in the newly designated wildlife corner beside the shed. Generously donated by Judith and transported by Isobel’s kind (and strong!) neighbour, Mark, this is potentially an ideal residence for any amphibians or insects looking for a watery home!   We’re anxiously waiting to see if Sheila’s imaginative seal on the plughole (‘Pringles’ lid and bath sealant) will hold water!

A beautiful Easter garden is being created in the Memorial Garden, ready for contributions of painted stones to pave the way to the Cross.   Everyone is invited to decorate a stone with a colour, pattern, words, pictures – anything that they would like to offer or ask forgiveness for at this very special time in the church’s year.   We’re really happy that children from Sutton Road School will bring their decorated pebbles during Holy Week.

It’s very exciting that the community garden is already involving so many people in 2018.      Who knows what new shoots will surprise us in the year ahead!

 


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December 2017 – Green and Wild Musings from Isobel

Beyond the bare soilDecember’s Green and Wild Musings from Isobel

At this time of year, as autumn slips into winter, I sometimes feel as if I’m entering a dark tunnel, but beyond the bare soil and branches I know that spring is just biding its time and there will soon be new growth. This December some flowers are way ahead of themselves. The winter honeysuckle is already blooming and just needs a mild day to surprise us with its fragrance and primroses are out in the meadow.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel!

A couple of weeks ago, Sheila and I visited an inspirational community gardening project at the Oasis Centre in Worksop. Pastor Steve Williams apologised for the apparent lack of flowers and produce. “But we’re gardeners,” we said, “we can see beyond the bare soil!” Our time there was really fruitful. We plan to collaborate in the future and came away with a lot of new ideas.

 

 

At a recent Under‐Fives session, we enjoyed garden crafts with the youngsters. Helichrysum (or strawflower) are generous plants that provide beautiful dried flowerheads. With a lollystick stem, pipe cleaner leaves and playdough soil the children made lovely pots to take home. The sunflowers that stood sentinel round the garden in the summer are also productive plants and the dried flowers are full of seeds to feed the birds and to save for next year’s planting. We enjoyed popping out the stripy seeds and filling bird feeders made from recycled drinks cartons.

 

 

 

 

There is never a dead time in the garden. Life just goes underground for a bit, storing up its energy to be reawakened by the warmth of the sun. One of our plans is to make a wildlife pond from an old sink or barrel. You can be sure that once it’s in place it will be seething with life in next to no time. Watch this space!!

 


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Outstanding Award from the Royal Horticultural Society

St Marks win national gardening accolade

 

A community gardening project which began in 2011 in a wild meadow at St Mark’s Church in Mansfield has culminated in an ‘outstanding’ award from the Royal Horticultural Society.
The Green and Wild Group were presented with the award in the East Midlands in Bloom ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ competition for the fourth time, and they can be seen here proudly displaying it, with vicar, the Revd James Curry.

(taken from the Southwell and Nottingham website)


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Outstanding!

Pictured at Newark Town Hall yesterday: Isobel and Sheila with Matt and Peter from Pleasley Community Orchard all receiving awards

 Hot off the press ………………… 

Green and Wild, St Mark’s Community gardeners, have received another Level 5 ‘Outstanding’ award at the Royal Horticultural Society’s East Midlands in Bloom ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ presentation in Newark.   The judges have been very impressed this year with the way we’ve involved children and young people in our garden project.

It was suggested that having now achieved this level for four years in a row we could be up for a special nomination if we surpass ourselves next year.

Well done everyone!   All hands to the spade!


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Standing up for ‘Green and Wild’

Watch this space for the result of the RHS East Midlands in Bloom presentations coming up on 1st November at Newark Town Hall.   You will remember that this year’s target has been to gain more than 90 marks for our Community Garden efforts.   Fingers crossed!

The display of pumpkins and marrows, overseen by our friendly scarecrow (Fr. James has named him or her, Mark/ Marcia, as we’re not quite sure of the sex) at the Harvest Festival last week was magnificent!   If anyone fancies making soup or pumpkin pie to share, please let Isobel or Sheila know.

There’s just under a week left for people to write to Mansfield District Council to protest against the proposed access
road off Quarry Lane to the Gregory Quarry development.   Although it’s very easy to feel we have no power to make a difference, I believe very strongly that this is something we should oppose, not only from the traffic congestion problem but far more for the future of our Nature Reserve.    The more people who bother to write, the more our voice will be heard.   An excellent letter in the Chad this week puts the argument against the new road very eloquently.

To comment/object (Ref: 2017/0575/OUT) by 18 October 2017, please email: pbc@mansfield.gov.uk

or write to Head of Planning, Mansfield District Council, Civic Centre, Mansfield NG19 7BH.

Please share this information as widely as possible.

Walking beside our River Maun, the words of Gerard Manley Hopkins ring in my ears and although I can’t articulate exactly what this poem means, I know it’s about my place in creation and my relationship with the Creator.   This green space is a special place:
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.
I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —
Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.
                                           Gerard Manley Hopkins