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.

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Clean Up Day

08/06/2018 at 10:26 am | Posted in Green Spaces, Recycling, Wildlife | Leave a comment
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We have recovered  5 bags of plastic bottles and 3 of mixed rubbish from the banks of the River Rea, alongside Calthorpe Park, on 5th June World Environment Day,  in our Plastic Pickup in Balsall Heath. The cans and bottles have all gone to be recycled.

A local resident said “I am happy to help, because I am fed up with all the mess, but there should be a way to prevent all this plastic being dumped and polluting our neighbourhood”. We have discovered that no-one owns the land along the river bank, so no-one is responsible for cleaning it.

John Newson went on to a “Beat Plastic Pollution” meeting of the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust, where they were discussing their plastic pledge, which encourages individuals to cut their own use of plastic packaging. The meeting was at Birmingham Friends of the Earth, who are asking for a national deposit return scheme to get all bottles and cans returned to shops. A shop is opening this month in Digbeth, which says it will have no plastic packaging.

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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

Pledge for Nature

10/04/2017 at 10:28 am | Posted in Wildlife | Leave a comment
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Many local people and organisations are pledging to protect nature. I pledge to;
* Do everything I can at home and at work to create space for nature,
* Support and protect my local green spaces
* Take action to encourage my local political and community leaders to protect the natural environment
* Encourage my employer to do more for the environment.
This has come from the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust, who want to build a coalition of people who will work together to preserve nature in the city. Well worth signing up, and there are more details of the pledge on their website

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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Thanks for Pocket Park

24/10/2016 at 1:10 pm | Posted in Trees, Walking, Wildlife | Leave a comment
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Balsall Heath’s new Pocket Park was officially declared open on Thursday 20 October in a ceremony which had Councillor Tony Kennedy cut the ribbon. Jericho Landscape’s team rushed to finish the work and welcome us all in. Abdullah Rehman representing Balsall Heath Forum said it was an example of people working together from across the community. It was nice to see 40 people gathered, including pupils from Redstone Academy and staff from the Little Care Bearz nursery, who are neighbours and supporters. A grant was received by Balsall Heath Forum for the work by the government’s Department of Communities and Local Government. Birmingham Highways Department is the landholder and will continue to maintain the site.
Let’s look after our Pocket Park!
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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

Let’s Enjoy our Front Gardens

05/05/2016 at 11:05 am | Posted in Gardens, Trees, Water, Wildlife | Leave a comment

In spring and summer the front gardens of Balsall Heath offer beautiful colour to our streets. So, a big thank you to all the gardeners. Sadly many houses have tarmacked or slabbed entirely, to park cars on. This adds to drainage problems because the drains cannot cope with sudden rain that no longer sinks into the ground. Without any shade the streets will get very hot, and we still remember the damage of the Birmingham Tornado which was triggered in July 2005 by the high temperatures.
Fortunately there are alternative surfaces that allow people to park their cars, but still have a surface that drains and also looks good. The Moseley Society website has provided some good advice
“The law now requires you to seek planning permission if you wish to lay impermeable driveways of more than five square metres that do not provide for the water to run to a permeable area. However you will not need planning permission if a new or replacement driveway of any size uses permeable (or porous) gravel, permeable concrete block paving or porous asphalt, or if the rainwater is directed to a lawn or border to drain naturally. The Government has produced an excellent Guide on the Permeable Surfacing of Front Gardens explaining how this can be done link here
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A Wildlife Walk in the Park

25/08/2015 at 1:47 pm | Posted in Trees, Walking, Wildlife | Leave a comment
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On Thursday 27th August 2015 we shall be having a Wildlife Walk in Cannon Hill Park, led by the park rangers. This is in partnership with the Bright Future Association, which has many members in the Balsall Heath area, so we meet at 12.00 at Calthorpe Park Centre and walk to the park. We hope to explore some wilder or more natural areas, as an alternative to the fair and ice creams. What plants and animals can we find living in the park? A Treasure Hunt to search for objects from nature will be organised after a picnic lunch, then walk back together.. All ages are welcome, but children must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Meeting place Calthorpe

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