Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Leabank Square Riverbank Wall

Have you seen how beautiful the Gainsborough School wall in Leabank Square looks now that it's been painted?

It has been done in Leabank Square Purples, and looks like a fantastic mosaic from a distance. The plants that are going to be growing up it are in the Leabank Square Riverside Nursery at the moment - and as soon they are big enough - will be trained up this stunning wall!

Thanks to everyone who helped paint it - it looks absolutely brilliant!!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Noisy Bank Holiday Awakening!!

Right - so now that the Olympic workers are starting to consider their neighbours well-being - the next bunch of noisy workers come along!!

Thanks to all the residents who alerted me to this bunch of very inconsiderate strimmerers at work early this Bank Holiday Monday!! The engines on their strimmers were worse than the joy riders bikes that come along the tow path - but then when they started cutting down our flowers - the noise was even worse!!
But - to all the residents who were swearing blue murder over at them (not that they heard!) - these inconsiderate nincompoops were probably either Hackney Council or British Waterways workers. The tow path has nothing to do with the Olympics.

Thanks for logging all the calls to Hackney Council this morning - it's weird isn't it - they will tell you that it has already been reported many times if you're the tenth caller complaining.

Anyhow - I will raise this with Robert Kavuma at our next meeting. But please stop hurling abuse over at them like this morning - it doesn't serve our cause any good!

Grrrrl Power on the Riverbank!

If you pay a visit up to the Leabank Square Riverbank nowadays - you will be absolutely amazed by all the very hard work going on!

But by far - most of the work is being done by the most incredible girls ever!! Potting, seeding, weeding, watering, digging and growing - and it is all starting to look fabulous!! In a few weeks we will have most of the hardest work done - and in these lovely summer temperatures - the plants will be growing much faster!

Thank you to Nancy & Safiri for all their hard work today!

Bugs of Leabank Square - Stag Beetle

Guess what Nadira found up on the riverbank today?! Our very first Stag Beetle!!!


This is a slightly smaller female Stag Beetle - and was found among the newly planted seedlings - and we've now housed her in the newly made Leabank Square Insect Hotel.

The English name is derived from the large and distinctive mandibles found on the males of most species, which resemble the antlers of stags.

A well-known species in much of Europe is Lucanus cervus, referred to in Britain as "the" stag beetle (it is the largest British terrestrial insect). Pliny the Elder noted that Nigidius called the stag beetle lucanus after the Italian region of Lucania where they were used as amulets. The scientific name of Lucanus cervus is this word, plus cervus, deer.

Male stag beetles use their jaws to wrestle each other for favoured mating sites, but despite their often fearsome appearance they are not normally aggressive to humans.

Stag beetles or Kuwagatamushi (クワガタムシ) are sometimes used in the Asian sport of insect fighting.

Female stag beetles are usually smaller than the males, with smaller mandibles.

The larvae feed for several years on rotting wood, growing into grubs which in larger species may be the size of a human finger.

Come on Leabank Square - get there and hunt for more great bugs!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Birds of Leabank Square - Blue Tit

Because the Olympic Developers cut our entire Orchard down - we've managed to start building some replacement trees along our riverbank - and we are beginning to attract some birds back. So far we've seen sparrows, great tits, wrens, dunnocks, robins & starlings returning.

But now we are getting regular visits from a lovely group of blue tits!!!!!

They are feeding on the peanut balls we've hung from the pretend trees - and are now venturing up to our balcony feeders as well. Please could as many of us as possible start hanging some from both sides of our homes - it takes a few weeks for the birds to drum up enough courage to come & snack - but once they do - they're such a welcome visitor!!

It's the colourful mix of blue, yellow, white and green that make the blue tit one of the most attractive resident garden birds. Almost any garden with a peanut feeder will attract them and they readily breed in nest boxes. In winter they form flocks with other tit species and a garden with four or five at a bird table at any one time, may be feeding 20 or more.

Their orchard may have been chopped down - but we can still encourage them to stay with just a little bit of encouragement.