We have well over 200 Commonwealth War Graves scattered around Brandwood End but for some reason there are a small group of them together just near our Civilian Garden of Remembrance, so some years ago we planted a hedge as a form of demarcation. During Lock down it had become rather wild and unkempt….maybe like some of us! Today some of us took it in hand!
This is what we found……
But with a snip here and there it now looks a little neater.
The Friends grabbed the chance to tidy up the hedge surrounding a small Commonwealth War Graves area before the rain started again!
Before and after. All that is needed are a couple of hours to spare and a few willing hands!!
We have several hundred War Graves in Brandwood End and neither ourselves nor Bereavements Services staff can find an explanation as to why these 8 graves are not dispersed within the cemetery like the others. There have been many theories but all have proved incorrect. No one knows……unless you know different??
Nesting is now over for this year- so we have been able to restore/cut the hedges in the Civilian Garden of Remembrance back to their neat and tidy state.
Our thanks to the staff from Idverde who have undertaken this task on our behalf. As the hedge is now mature cutting and shaping it represents a major piece of work. It is now beyond the Friends so we rely on assistance to keep everything ship shape.
The Friends still cut and maintain the hedge in the adjacent small War Graves area.
Just a note to remind everyone that the Hawthorn hedge surrounding the Civilian Garden of Remembrance always looks a little unkempt at this time of year, as under the ‘Protection of Wildlife Regulations’ we are not allowed to cut this mature hedge whilst there are nesting birds. It will be cut back as soon as is allowed.
Those of you that were involved in the planting, along with pupils from St Albans Catholic Primary School, will remember that this was part of a Heritage Lottery Environmental Project to increase wildlife habitat as well as hedging this area. The hedge has been a victim of its own success as it has become really well established and supports lots of wildlife…..BUT it will be cut well back, as soon as is possible !
Lucky for us, the sun shone today as a few of the Committee of FBEC wrestled with huge bags of bark to top dress the beds in The Civilian Garden of Remembrance!
A few weeds pulled, a bit of snipping here and there, some bark, a rake and a sweep ….and everything soon looked spick and span.
You can see a few more photo’s taken by Nicola Clarke from Idverde HERE
and the final result…………………
Those of you that follow the activities of FBEC will know that a few years ago we enlisted the help of local pupils to create yet another hedged area to surround a small section of War Graves that we felt needed to be defined. The majority of our 300+ War Graves are scattered throughout the cemetery.
The original project took place in early 2014 so barely 3 years later and the hedge is now well established.
Whilst we were in the cemetery with our shears we also removed stragglers from this hedge.
Both these hedges were planted in define areas but also to increase habitat for birds, insects and especially Hedgehogs within Brandwood End.
Three years on…… a well established hedge.
Despite agreeing that no serious hedge cutting would take place to our hedge surrounding the Civilian Garden of Remembrance (for ecological reasons), we had to give in- and do a slight top trim today as some of the uppermost shoots were stretching nearly a meter above the hedge itself!!
Before, with the stragglers standing proud!
Back under control below. We have made sure that the main body of the hedge remained undisturbed.
Julia, assisted by our youngest gardener…and an after view, looking much tidier.
Can we also report that our redesigned and replanted beds are now coming into their own and reflect a riot of colour and texture, whilst needing minimal attention. Mission accomplished !
Hedge uncut in this one ….. Beautiful texture filled beds
FBEC have now enjoyed several family Hedgehog events, delivered on our behalf by Birmingham Park Ranger Service (Jan and Dean) and the Wildlife Trust (Emma). We are coming towards the end of this enormously enjoyable project that seems to have captured the imagination of local schools and residents.
On Monday the 20th March from 7-8pm at Park House in Kings Heath Park we will be holding an adults only event, to cover some of the more technical details relating to the why the well loved Hedgehog is declining in most areas of the UK.
Places are FREE but limited, so please reserve your place via this link.
Every year Friends of Brandwood End Committee turn out to try and keep the Ivy under control that takes over some of the most historic monuments in the cemetery.
Following advice from the Conservation Officer and also the Wildlife Trust, who are working closely with us on our Hedgehog Project, we try and restrict our activities to the month of February when the impact on insects and birds is at its lowest. Whilst removing the Ivy we did find one or two frogs and toads enjoying the sunshine in the damp undergrowth but we made sure they remained undisturbed (Apart from their photo call!)
I think you will agree that the improvement is quite striking and has exposed some of our most interesting and beautiful monuments.
We all breathed a sigh of relief to see that the weather was dry this morning for the Friends to welcome over 20 people to the ‘official’ unveiling of our Civilian Garden of Remembrance. Our thanks to Councillor Eva Phillips who made a short speech about the uncertainties in the World today and the value of peace internationally. We all hope that we may see a time when there is no need for ‘civilian dead’ to be laid to rest following conflict.
Eva then cut the ribbon and declared that the garden refurbishment was now officially completed.
Our thanks to our anonymous donor, who meant that we were able to engage horticulturalist Darren Rudge with a team of his ‘Homebase’ students to complete the work. I am sure all our visitors today agree that the garden looks a picture!
Afterwards we all made our way to the Lodge and enjoyed a leisurely cup of tea and some excellent home made cake (thank you Coral!)
Well done Darren and his team!