By Frances Beaumont
Before we all went into lockdown many groups got out their gardening tools and started tree planting, rewilding and greening all over Faversham – and the green shoots are now there for us all to enjoy on our daily walk.
Here are just some of them.
Awaydays tourist agency owner Brian Booth wanted to offset the carbon footprint caused by his business. He consulted his customers and he now runs a Tree Miles scheme, where every customer pays a small surcharge for the miles they travel. Last year, they raised £700 and a group of volunteers, including Awayday’s clients, planted 500 young trees and hedging plants in Oare Gun Powder Works and Milton Creek Country Park. Awaydays is looking for local places for this year’s autumn planting, assuming we will all be allowed out by then.
Faversham Recreation Ground is in the middle of a massive £1.9 million revamp to its facilities and grounds.
Lewis Monger has been appointed as the Faversham first Rec Ranger. He is working with other groups including Faversham in Bloom, Friends of the Earth, Swale Borough Council, Faversham Town Council, the Rotary Club, Friends of Faversham Rec and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. Kent Wildlife Trust is helping in the design of a wildlife friendly garden near the new café.
Davington Recreation Ground Volunteers from North Preston and Brents Community Association planted hundreds of bulbs and eight trees last autumn.
Sadly several trees were lost because of vandalism, so the Community Association invested in two metre high stakes and steel mesh guards for three trees. The very next day an expensive flowering crab apple tree complete with its stakes and metal mesh guards was stolen. After a local Facebook campaign, the tree re-appeared, complete with its stakes and mesh guard.
Sad to say, many planting projects around town have suffered from theft or vandalism. If you see anything, the Faversham Town Beat officer is Jez Chittim, Phone: 07929376935
Brents Park Swale Borough Council donated 5,000 bulbs last autumn. To see them, you go over the Creek Bridge, turn immediately right to walk along Front Brents, past the Albion
Pub to Crab Island. The willow park and daffodils are on the left.
Faversham in Bloom is a national competition in which Faversham has done very well in the past. This year Faversham in Bloom is improving the Whitstable Road bank next to the Rec, and Partridge Lane Car Park. Ali Corbel from Swale Borough Council leads the team of volunteers to fill Faversham with colour throughout the year. The emphasis on annuals is changing to herbs and longer-lasting perennials which provide all-year-round cover for the soil and insects. Subject to the lockdown, Faversham In Bloom will take place from 29 June 29 to 12 this year, so brighten up your front gardens.
Trees for Farms' Mary Golder-Hayes told me, “This project started as a response to the challenges of both climate change and loss of biodiversity, allied with a need to do something more constructive than shouting at the television! This Winter two dozen volunteers, many of them children, planted 500 trees of native hedging on two farms and Eastling school. During the summer we’ll be working to maintain these hedges – join us for working picnics! More planting is planned for the Autumn. Hedges provide food and homes for a variety of creatures and create a network of routes to connect wildlife sites.” More volunteers and farms welcome.
U3A ( University of the Third Age) recently asked all its groups, including Canterbury and Faversham, to cut car travel and plant trees. #UTreeA
Faversham Tree Week was held during ‘National Tree Week’ last November. It is planned to hold a similar event again this year.
Swale Borough Council advises and connects environmental groups. They encourage ‘rewilding’ by allowing longer grass cover in some areas. Contact Jonathan Reason (SBC) for advice before planting on Council-owned land.
The Friends of the Westbrook are dedicated to improving the environment of the clear chalk stream which runs through the town from the Knole through Stonebridge pond to the creek. There used to be large watercress beds around Cress Way but over the years the water level has reduced due to aquifers being tapped deeper for drinking water to supply more houses. Nevertheless the stream continues to provide a cool green corridor of water, trees and wildflowers through the town.
General advice for anyone wanting to plant trees:
Tree cover in the UK is only 13 percent, well below the European average of 37 percent. We need millions of trees to make a serious impact on climate change.
Trees absorb carbon dioxode, clean the air of pollutants and produce oxygen for us to breathe as well as providing provide habitats for wildlife. Flowers provide nectar and pollen for insects, and the fruit, nuts or berries are food for us and other wildlife. Many trees will outlive us adding beauty to our lives whether its spring, autumn or winter.
However small your garden or allotment, could you fit in a hedge, or a fruit tree along a fence? Is there an empty spot near you, crying out for a tree?
PLANT A TREE ADVICE
Plan now, but plant in the autumn
Grow your own from an acorn, apple pips, plum or cherry stones
Get together with neighbours to plan a community orchard.
Apply to the Woodland Trust for between 15 and 420 FREE trees.
For advice and trees: Edible Culture (Abbey School), May Tree Nursery (Dunkirk), Brogdale Collections (Brogdale Road), or Fern Alder our resident Tree Warden.
Morrisons often has special offers on fruit trees
‘Awaydays’ may have spare trees for your project, later in the year.
The Tree Council provides handouts on planting and caring for trees.
Weekly watering in the Summer is essential to young trees’ survival.
TREE FRIENDLY CONTACTS
Once the lockdown is over many groups will be planting trees again, working to make Faversham a green and pleasant community.
Adam Andrews, Facilities Manager Town Council Phone: 01795 503286 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ali Corbel, Faversham in Bloom email@example.com
Awaydays (trees) Jacquie Dabnor firstname.lastname@example.org
Brogdale Collections, visits & festivals
Chris Williams,Town Councillor email@example.com
Faversham Trees firstname.lastname@example.org
Fern Alder, Tree Warden email@example.com
Friends of the Earth firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathan Reason, SBC Parks Dept JonathanReason@swale.gov.uk
Lewis Monger, Faversham Rec ‘Ranger’ email@example.com
Phone 07756 500 073
Plastic-free Faversham firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tree Council advice & handouts,
U3A Faversham, Membership Secretary email@example.com