Volunteering at LRSP: Day 2

It’s safe to say that even though this is only our second day working at the station, it already feels like a second home (and the tea and coffee kindly provided by Elspeth certainly doesn’t break that illusion!)

Today called for an early start, so we met at the station at 9, and began work almost immediately; yes, today was MOSAIC DAY! As ‘communications officer’ I quickly laminated some posters that I made yesterday, and put them up around the station to inform station-goers of the work that we were doing, and by the time that I arrived in the subway, the mosaic was already well under way.

Someone even decided to comment ON one of our posters

Someone even decided to comment ON one of our posters

With the subway closed, and music softly playing, the morning whirred past in a blur or adhesive, tile cutters and notched trowels, and by the time we staggered our lunch breaks, we had produced better work than, honestly, I thought was possible in the time we had.

WP_20140819_005[1]WP_20140819_013[1] WP_20140819_021[1] 

(To be clear, in the first picture I asked Izzy to pull a silly face)

After lunch, we carried on with the mosaic, altering the design slightly due to the change in the amount of space that we had to cover. However, I think that the block colours at each end of the mural, twisting and fading into the waves of rainbow stripes that we had originally designed give a more pleasing aesthetic, and allow the mosaic seagulls that we’d worked all morning on to really shine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s been a fantastic day, and I can’t wait to continue (and finish!) the mosaic tomorrow!

If you want to keep updated about the work that we’re doing with LRSP and Albion in the Community, keep watching this blog, and you can follow us on twiiter @a_team_7. Thanks for reading- Orla

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Volunteering at LRSP: Day 1

So I’m new to writing for the London Road Station Partnership blog- I guess that’s because this time last week I didn’t really know about the partnership. My name is Orla Byrne, and I’m one of the 12 young volunteers currently working at the station for the duration of this week as part of a summer course that we’ve been participating in- the National Citizen Service- and in partnership with Albion in the Community.

When we got the chance to look at different projects in and around Brighton, and were asked to consider which one we most felt we could contribute to and make successful, the opportunity to paint a mural and revamp the station seemed to jump out of the page. The brief suggested an opportunity for creativity and a real sense of community, and having only been here for a day so far, we’ve not been let down.

Our plan for the week is to create a mosaic mural in the subway at the station, and we feel that this will not only bring vibrancy to the previously drab area of the station, but also that the mural that we have designed will show the strong partnership which has been forged by the two organisations that made this opportunity possible for us- LRSP and Albion in the Community. The design, shown below, ties in the idea of seagulls and the logo of Brighton Albion with imagery of flowers and nature, now found around the station thanks to the work of LRSP, and the multi coloured wave background not only gives a bright and cheerful tone to the piece, but the waves echo an image often associated with Brighton as a city.

Mosaic Design

We arrived at the station today at midday, and set to work, all kitted up in our immensely trendy hi-visibility jackets. Our creative team- Izzy, Alice and Mairead- set to work with our team leader Amie to start transferring the outline of the mural onto the board that had been mounted in the subway, whilst the rest of the group grabbed our hoes and trowels and set to work weeding the station platforms and the area at the front of the station.

The time seemed to fly by, but as we finished our work and were able to admire a clearer and more aesthetically pleasing environment the design had been transferred onto the wall, and we came together to discuss our plans for the Big Mosaic Day- tomorrow!

;;;All set with our volunteer jackets Marie weeding the front Emily weeding the front Matt weeding the platform Jack with a hoe

As well as writing this blog daily for the duration of the project, as part of the external communication role in my team, we’ve set up a twitter account! We’re hoping that this will spread word of the work we are doing, so the local and wider community can be fully aware of what (and why) we are doing, and fully benefit from our project. This also means that people who are invested in our project being a success can watch our work as it progresses and I document it in real time.

@a_team_7

is the place to be for updates and pictures of our project as it grows throughout the week, and also if you want to ask the team questions about our project.

So, thanks for reading, and I hope that you follow this project throughout the week, both on twitter and here on the LRSP blog as I write about the work we are doing, as we do it!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More happening … NCS volunteers make a start

NCS weeding 2A great group of National Citizens Service volunteers started today at London Road Station. The ceramic mural will gradually take shape in the underpass, but today was mostly a day for clearing around the station and getting to grips with hoes (a few giggles here), the large broom, trowels and dustpan and brush. The group are going to write a guest blog for every day of their work here at London Road Station.

NCS with broom 1

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The awaited and the unexpected

IMG_0728 Great day – bright blue sky, fresh and airy, it was bliss being out in the garden. The high winds have died down. After more rain, things are happening everywhere. Last week’s lettuce seeds have germinated, the cavalo nero is looking refreshed and plentiful (and de-caterpillared), our tomatoes are starting to turn red and the foxglove in the south platform planter finally has a flower on it!

These are all things that we have been waiting for – well, actually, the germination of the seeds in under a week is rather unexpected, but seeing those tiny green Seeds 8.14shoots appear is always magical. We’ll need to defend now from the slugs and snails who are back with a vengeance now the soil is moist.

And there are more unexpected things happening. Somewhere (probably from the compost) we’ve ended up with two massive squash plants growing in the far corner of the orchard bed. They are starting to engulf the area where we store canes and some long-handled tools. Maire said last week that most of the flowers look like ‘male’ ones, with long stalks Mad squash 8.14but no fruit: we need some females with little tiny fruits behind the flowers. Will we ever get them, or are these creatures simply rampaging through the plot with little benefit (apart from draping themselves lushly over the raised bed)? Advice from Weekend Gardener suggests that female flowers come after the male. Once we get them, we can encourage pollination.

And we have a return of another unexpected guest: coriander is again growing in the tree pit. We all find this wonderful herb hard to grow, but hey – there it is, in among the lobelia and petunias. I really don’t know where it is coming from. Did we drop coriander seeds here last year? Yet more proof of the serendipity of gardening.

The rogue coriander again 8.14

Spot the coriander

Platplant south foxglove 8.14

Buds finally on foxglove

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Edible growing | Leave a comment

After the storm

We’ve had wonderfully hot weather this summer but inevitably rising the to usual English summer climax of storms. We’ve just recovered from the weekend of very heavy rain (yippee!) and high winds (boo …) and temperatures now are significantly lower – under 20C. The water butts are full and the plants are not gasping anymore.

IMG_0715We had a great work session yesterday – probably for two reasons: 1) Sara made the massive courgette she took home last week into the most delicious courgette cake for this week’s work session, and 2) we didn’t have to spend the whole afternoon hefting loaded watering cans about the station. And 3) we put in seeds.

Daphne and Marlene at our new seed bed while Sara tends the tomato plants

Daphne and Marlene at our new seed bed while Sara tends the tomato plants

We’ve cleared the chard, improved the soil with Veolia’s soil enhancer and nature has lavished it with rain. The soil is good and crumbly, and still lovely and warm. We’ve sown mostly leaf seeds: from right to left – curly endive, Italian Bondi lettuce, red ‘Mordore’ lettuce, ‘Kopsla’ lettuce, oriental greens and then a row of calendula. We’ll see what comes up. The curly leaves and the oriental leaves tend to be very robust. We may even be able to overwinter them.

I also managed to do some work on the shady triangle, clearing branches and sycamore leaves and ‘parachute’ seeds.

The new heuchera and fuchsias are looking lovely in the central area, and I found space for the lovely lime-leaved fuchsias which a neighbour, David in Stanley Road, had brought back to life after they’d been abandoned by a garden centre.

David had passed by while we were working at Preston Circus planters a couple of weeks ago, and kindly offered us some of his many cast-off fuchsias. He had a wonderful back garden with a tropical feel, full of rescued and foraged plants – quite an inspiration!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Recce at London Road

In garden 11.8.14The station is getting a mini-makeover from a really lovely group of young volunteers, who arrived this morning for an initial recce. It’s part of National Citizen Service, managed in this area by Brighton & Hove Albion football club in collaboration with Southern Railway. They’ll be working in and around the station next week 18-22 August.

Following on a suggestion from Southern’s local maintenance team, their main project is sprucing up the unprepossessing (make that ‘depressing’) underpass. The idea is to create a set of panels to decorate the walls, probably using tile mosaic, with themes associated with the station.

Underpass with KateThey loved the garden, enjoyed the raspberries, tried lovage leaves and shared quite a bit of knowledge of growing, acquired in family gardens and allotments. Some were interested in helping in the garden and when not designing the panels, there may be sweeping, cleaning, shifting compost and painting. Walking around the station forecourt, they also noticed the puny plastic edging around the tree pits and have gone away to see whether they can come up with some sturdier wooden edging for us. Hooray!

 

11.8.14 group photoAnd since we quickly established that we all love a (tea) party, we’re all going to get together for another local cakes-and-drinks-fest at the station on Friday 22nd 3pm to 4.30 or so. Put the date in your diary now and come along to see their creations!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pruning the fruit trees

We embarked on summer pruning today of our cordoned fruit trees. A bit scary, as this is the first time we’ve done it on our own without the expert advice of Bryn from Brighton Permaculture Trust.

Having read up the RHS advice and that from videojug, we established that for summer pruning, we need to prune sideshoots (laterals) and sideshoots of sideshoots (sub-laterals), not the main leader stem. The idea is to restrict growth, not encourage it.

The problem is then identifying exactly which sideshoots and where to cut. It seems important to identify sideshoots which are ‘existing wood’ and those bits which are ‘new season’s growth’.

The video says ‘cut 1cm above the basal cluster – which is the whirl of leaves around the bottom of the shoot just above the rings of old wood’ – presumably marking the point where the sideshoot was last pruned.

The RHS says cut the sideshoots which have grown on old growth back to 1 leaf (around 1cm) – after the basal cluster, and then cut back the entirely new sideshoots to 3 leaves.

The next challenge is to identify leaf buds facing the right way – outwards and fanning away from the main stem, not crossing it.

I think we trimmed all sideshoots back to 3 leaves above a basal cluster – we may have to go back and trim further, but better that than to have pruned too far.

_________________________________________________________

From RHS website: Summer pruning an oblique cordon (at 45 degrees)

Summer pruning is carried out in August, or in areas where growth is strong, such as wet parts of the country, delay summer pruning until September.

  • Look for sideshoots over 22cm (9in) long, which grew earlier in summer directly from the main stem, and cut them back to three leaves. Those stems that grew from existing sideshoots or spurs can be pruned harder – to just one leaf beyond the cluster of leaves the base of that stem
  • Leave shoots less than 15cm (6in) long until mid September and then shorten to one leaf beyond the cluster of leaves the base
  • Prune growth that forms after summer pruning in September (or October if pruning later)
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment