Despite the challenging weather conditions over the last few months we’ve had a busy time in the gardens here at Jodrell Bank and have enjoyed some wonderful seasonal highlights along the way.
With wellies adorned the gardeners have been out monitoring our collection of trees and checking for damage after the storms noting a few losses along the way. However our hearts have been lifted with the pockets of sunshine in between the showers highlighting the first signs of spring with cherry, pear and magnolia blossom bursting into life.
Our wonderful garden volunteers have been as busy as ever with a few projects around the site. As part of our Heritage Lottery funded First Light project, they are a valuable new addition to the team and join us fortnightly throughout the year carrying out a range of activities and projects in all weathers. Some work sessions are very practical while others have an emphasis on learning new skills including Fungi identification, bird surveys, fern propagation and wildlife habitat construction.
In our most recent volunteering session they spent the morning turning over our compost bays and replacing worn out pallet dividers with new ones from First Light project deliveries – the contractors had barely unloaded them when we snapped them up for our compost area!
We’ve also had experts from RSPB Macclesfield Wildlife Explorers join our volunteers for a Big Garden Birdwatch with over 20 different species spotted in the arboretum within the allotted hour including Redwings, buzzard, ravens and a last minute swoop in by a Goldcrest which was a delight to see.
Its often a worrying time of year for beekeepers wondering if their bees have made it through the winter months with enough stores to keep them going. We weigh our hives on a regular basis by hefting with a luggage scale and discovered a couple of the hives were lighter than we would have liked. We are lucky enough to be able to borrow the engagement team’s infrared camera to sneak a peak on our bees and were relieved to see all was well, however we gave them a pack of specially formulated fondant to provide extra food to last til the spring. We’re looking forward to when we can open them up for our live beekeeping demonstrations when the temperature rises above 16 degrees C, come and join us and learn about these fascinating creatures.