Visitors to Crabtree Fields public open space are advised to keep away from the fenced off area under the pergola until repairs and urgent maintenance is completed. The area affected has been marked off with hazard tape.
The Friends group have completed a small repair and put the hazard tape up to make the area safe. Camden’s parks department have been notified and will complete the repair in due course.
Quite a lot of fungi has emerged out of the ground in Crabtree Fields this week after all the rain. The visible part of fungi is the mushroom or toadstool and is the fruit of the underlying mycelium, a system of fine threads that stretches out beneath the mushroom in search of water and food. Fungi breakdown dead wood and leaves and recycle nutrients back into the soil, which helps plants to grow and thrive. Please don’t touch the fungi, let it grow. We don’t know what type it is and it may be poisonous.
The Friends group have asked Camden parks’ department to make a repair to the pergola at Crabtree Fields after a section of timber broke on Friday 11 October. The Friends group fenced off the area under the pergola and alerted Camden to carry out an urgent repair.
The Friends have identified further repairs where sections of timber supporting the wisteria, ivy and kiwi vines are rotten. We will try to arrange for these sections to be repaired without damaging the greenery it supports, which is a much needed and well-loved feature of the public open space.
In November the Friends group will be filling the gaps in the beech hedge by planting new trees to restore the hedge to its formal shape and improve the habitat for wildlife. Several of the beech plants have died and need replacing. This work is being done thanks to a generous donation from someone who works in Fitzrovia, is a frequent visitor to the park and who is paying for the new beech plants.
A young blackbird sits on a hedge in Crabtree Fields public open space.
Farmers are not allowed to cut hedges between 1 March and 31 August to protect the habitat of nesting birds. The same guidance should be applied to public parks in our cities, yet all too often it is ignored.
Using machinery such as hedge trimmers and leaf blowers can disrupt the habitat, disturbing nests. Birds that have left the nest but are too young to fly can be separated from their parents who still help them to feed. While juvenile they can hop around and find food and still retreat to the safety of the hedge when danger threatens.
This young blackbird has left its nest but cannot yet fend for itself. If a small army of maintenance workers turn up and start cutting the hedge and blowing cuttings around it will likely take fright and become separated from its parents and could starve and die.
So please Camden Council, give our wildlife the chance to live. Cut the hedges in the autumn and winter months just like farmers are supposed to do.
Red campion (Silene dioica) can flower all year round and is an important plant for flying insects.
This native British wildflower, Red campion (Silene dioica), is flowering in a tree pit in Whitfield Street, Fitzrovia.
This flower is one of a number of important pollinators and although not often seen on the streets of London is quite a common plant seen in woodlands and on roadside verges.
The flowers have grown from seed planted by the Friends group.
Blossom on a blackthorn tree in Crabtree Fields.
The first of our small blackthorn trees is blossoming in Crabtree Fields, adding to the variety of plants to support wildlife.
Blackthorn, also known as sloe, is a small deciduous tree native to the UK and most of Europe. Because it is early flowering it provides a valuable source of nectar and pollen for bees.
“Its foliage is a food plant for the caterpillars of many moths, including the lackey, magpie, common emerald, small eggar, swallow-tailed and yellow-tailed. It is also used by the black and brown hairstreak butterflies,” says the Woodland Trust.
The Friends group have this winter planted a number of native deciduous and everygreen trees and shrubs, adding to the beauty and biodiversity of Crabtree Fields.
Beech (Fagus sylvatica) hedge has been trimmed to promote density for wildlife habitat.
Friends have this winter trimmed the large beech hedge in Crabtree Fields. We reduced the height of the hedge by about 30 cm and gave the sides a light trim to encourage thickness.
Volunteers used hand tools and the work was done over a couple of weeks in February. It will need a further trim at the end of August. If clipped it doesn’t shed its leaves, and provides a year-round dense screen, which provides a great habitat for garden birds.
Beech is native to Britain and makes an important habitat for many butterflies. Its foliage is eaten by the caterpillars of a number of moths, including the barred hook-tip, clay triple-lines and olive crescent. The seeds are eaten by mice, voles, squirrels and birds.