Too much summer

27/07/2018 at 9:58 am | Posted in Gardens, Green Spaces, Water | Leave a comment
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People are asking if the drought of 7 weeks and the hot temperatures of 30 C (and more) have something to do with Climate Change. The Mediterranean-style summer in Balsall Heath has made the grass parched (see pic below) and even trees are starting to droop. The truth is that all weather is now in the context of a changed atmosphere and a warming world. This is not a theory, but a matter of measurement, so the Central England Temperature series shows  it getting warmer since the mid 20th century.

Balsall Heath is Our Planet wants the neighbourhood to adapt to the hotter summers which we must expect. BHIOP asked for and got 160 trees planted,  some now big enough to cast a useful shade, with another round of planting  expected in  the coming winter. You can propose new  trees on streets here

We are encouraging rain butts to be installed in community gardens to store water (when it falls), also talking to the Moseley Road Baths and the Old Print Works about using the rain from their roofs in the building, rather than sending it down the drains.

What ideas do people have for adapting to more frequent extreme weather ? Do let me know John Newson bhiop[at]jericho.org.uk

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Heat and Drought

10/07/2018 at 8:15 am | Posted in Gardens, Home Energy saving | Leave a comment
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It is really hot and dry in Balsall Heath in July, so I am adapting to the conditions as follows.

Close all the windows and doors at home during the day, to prevent warm air from the street entering. Keep curtains and blinds closed on the sunny side of the house, to shade the rooms. When the sun has gone down, purge the house of heat by opening the highest windows and the back door – being aware of security, as the police always remind us.

My water from showering and washing up has gone on the plants in their containers, now that the rain butt is empty. Lawns do not need watering and will come back when it rains. Severn Trent offer more water saving tips and gadgets on their website. I save £80 a year by being metered and only paying for what I use details

Thanks to those who are working  to install rain butts in community gardens in Balsall Heath, this summer, which will help in future droughts.

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Brightening the street

24/06/2018 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Gardens, Streets, Wildlife | 1 Comment
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A wonderful pop up garden has appeared in front of the Wesleyan Holiness Church on Cromer Road, Balsall Heath this year, thanks to voluntary effort, led by Tessa Lowe.  Passers by comment on how much better the site looks, having only been grass before. The amount of litter dropped has dropped off as well, since people see the church offering an attractive sight and someone obviously taking care of it. This shows the importance of corner sites in gardening the neighbourhood and in encouraging people to walk..

Flowers include lupins and foxgloves, which are great for feeding the bees, as well as for summer colour, so we could call it another Bee Garden.

Wesleyan Holiness Church.jpg

Time to Plant

14/05/2018 at 1:17 pm | Posted in Food, Gardens | Leave a comment

Mid May is a wonderful time to plant fruit and vegetables in your Balsall Heath garden. In fact, I have a concrete back yard, but am still able to grow in containers. Down at the BH Garden centre, which is run by BH Forum in St Pauls Road, I saw  a lot of plants on sale at reasonable prices today. Fruit trees including apples, figs, peaches, even oranges (worth a try). Young tomato plants, squash, sweet corn, cucumber and courgette. Even if only one or two fruits make it to harvest, then you have got your money back, and they taste much better than something in plastic from the supermarket. It is good to make use of the patches of ground we do have and encourage any neighbours whose garden is neglected.

Balsall Heath Garden Centre is open most days including weekends at 82 St Pauls Road, near Ladypool Road, tel 0121 446 6183. They can offer local delivery.

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Opening of the Bee Garden

13/07/2017 at 12:39 pm | Posted in Gardens, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Myrtle Cottage stands in front of The Old Print Works on Moseley Road, opposite to Edward Road. It was built in the 1790s and it had a lovely garden, we can imagine. However, more recently, it was concreted over, like a lot of gardens. Jeremy Hunt, who lives in the cottage, teamed up with John Newson to lead volunteers on making planting boxes from scrap wood and planting them up as a Bee Garden. Bees need places to feed that are not doused in chemical pesticides. The environmental charity Balsall Heath Is Our Planet was happy to pay for materials. There are also edible plants and herbs.
On Saturday 8th July all was finished so an opening was held with a tea and cake celebration and poems about bees and other subjects. The garden is at 506 Moseley Road and visible through the gate at any time, with more if you enter the courtyard of the Old Print Works.

Bee Garden in July

Oranges and Lemons

02/05/2017 at 2:19 pm | Posted in Food, Gardens, Trees | Leave a comment
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People were delighted to see citrus fruit growing on bushes for sale at the Community Garden Centre in Balsall Heath at a Grow It weekend, which took place over 29th and 30th April. The event was supported by Balsall Heath Is Our Planet and 175 people attended.

“We are trying to stock some more unusual fruit and vegetables, as well as flowers”. Said Sanjay who works there. “Gardeners may like to try them out, given that they have already been given a flying start”.

The community garden centre supports the work of Balsall Heath Forum. It is open every day, being located at 82 St Pauls Road, close to Ladypool Road, tel 0121 446 6183. They offer local delivery.

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Bulb Planting at Pocket Park

22/11/2016 at 1:48 pm | Posted in Gardens, Trees, Walking, Wildlife | Leave a comment
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Thanks very much to everyone who turned out to help with community bulb planting at the Pocket Park in Balsall Heath on 17th November. I would say that 15 people contributed at some point. Volunteers were there from Balsall Heath Forum, St Paul’s Trust and school, also the Jericho Foundation. One man even saw us out of his house and came over to help. We got 150 bulbs of daffodil, crocus, snowdrop, iris, tulip planted, and these should make a colourful display next spring and summer, and for years to come. I notice that either no-one seems to drop litter there, or others are picking it up and putting in the bin..

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Sun Shines on Pocket Park

07/11/2016 at 1:42 pm | Posted in Gardens, Trees, Walking, Wildlife | Leave a comment
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The Pocket Park in the centre of Balsall Heath is providing a place to sit and enjoy the last autumn sunshine. The benches were made from recycled timber by Jericho Foundation. The design aims to make a better environment for pedestrians and was opened by Councillor Tony Kennedy on 20 October.
Previous posts about this project are here

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Pocket Park Opening Event 20th October

12/10/2016 at 12:51 pm | Posted in Gardens, Walking, Wildlife | Leave a comment
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You are invited to come help and the local community to celebrate the
Pocket Park Opening Event
Where? in the centre of Balsall Heath at the junction of Moseley Road A435 and Haden Way, next to Little Care Bearz nursery – B12 9BX
When ? Thursday 20th October start 1.30
Councillor Tony Kennedy (Sparkbrook) will speak and cut the ribbon
This location was identified by the BH Neighbourhood Plan as the place for a Town Square and the Pocket Park begins the process. A grant from central government has allowed Balsall Heath Forum to undertake the work.
Tell us how you would like to see the pocket park develop and how you could be involved.
Notice that there is no car parking, but some spaces in nearby streets. 50 bus.
Please reply if you intend to come – for numbers bhiop@jericho.org.uk
0121 647 1960 John Newson ‘Making a Change’
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Previous story of Pocket Park is here

A Pocket Park for Balsall Heath

16/06/2016 at 9:56 am | Posted in Cycling, Gardens, Walking | Leave a comment
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This summer we shall see a new Pocket Park appear, and work has begun. The location is right in the centre of Balsall Heath, where Moseley Road and Haden Way join together. This was where the Highways Department wanted to start a huge south Birmingham expressway, but were fought off by combined residents’ groups 20 years ago.
The BH Neighbourhood Plan identified this as the natural centre, which could become something like a Town Square. The Pocket Park is the first step.
Now Balsall Heath Forum has a grant from the Department of Communities and Local Government to re-model it. The work is being done by Jericho Foundation, a social enterprise. Features of the design by local architect Joe Holyoak retains all the trees on the site and adds a coloured paving design, flowers and herbs in planters and seats. Yes, pedestrians will be able to sit down! Cyclists will be separated as part of a new cycle route.
The overgrown shrubbery has already been cleared away (along with the rubbish and the rats). The children’s nursery Little Care Bearz behind is now much more visible and will have a better setting.
Various artists are interested in contributing to the project. An Opening Ceremony/ Event will be held later in the summer. Let’s love and protect our Pocket Park.

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