Palm House update from the Wolves Lane Palm House Crew!
It’s been really exciting to watch the palm house spring back into life during the nice hot summer. Hopefully the disasters of last winter can now be put behind us.
Since the losses in the severe March frost when the heating had broken down, most species including plumbago, philodendrons, bird of paradise flowers, Dutchman’s pipe, lantana, bougainvillea and even mostera have grown strong and beautiful again.
Some damaged palm trees sprouted again from the roots. Three leafless ficus trees resurrected in June, and in July a dracena shoot unexpectedly appeared from the ground.
We have had several donations of new plants from the volunteer team including Cape gooseberry, hibiscus, bromeliads, mostera, morning glories, devil’s ivy and a flourishing little avocado sapling.
Thanks to Loretta, Panos, Louisa, Angela, Pamela, Judith, Gavin, Joseph and Islay for all their help and plant donations in the last few months.
And to Tina and George who did much hard work on the water pumps as well as caring for the fish and terrapins and cutting back some overgrown plants.
Also to Roger, our ever patient building-fixer, for seeing to several repairs.
Volunteers needed for fleece-wrapping
One Sunday or Wednesday in the next 3-4 weeks, we’re hoping to arrange a fleece-wrapping session. It would be great if Friends could help with labelling the plants, fleece-wrapping the more tender ones and sharing your knowledge about winter care of particular species. Watch this space for a date.
Please save and bring us any old plastic conference badge holders or travelcard/credit card wallets you have –
they make useful plant label covers. Plant labels are ready to put in place as soon as we can acquire some waterproof holders for them.
Plans to restore Rain Forest
It would also be good to tidy up the ‘rain forest’ area and make a tent of fleece or bubble wrap for small specimens of the most heat-needy plants, into which we could put a small electric heater if and when needed. We should be able to use the gas heating as soon as a few rusted valves have been fixed, and a budget has been allocated for the gas bill.
Solar Power Crowdfunding
If we can reach our crowdfunding target, solar power will bring down the electricity bills – including for the pump that runs the gas heating – and leave more funds for site improvements. The crowdfunder also budgets for backup electric storage heaters that we could solar-charge by day and use by night, plus large quantities of bubble wrap and other innovative measures to conserve heat. Hopefully it’s the first stage of a plan to switch mainly to renewable energy, using a ground source heat pump and/or an anaerobic digester. More info
Plans to re-open Wolves Lane for community use and education again
There is so much potential for community use of the site, as a cafe/event space, for school visits and other educational activities. The rain forest room has potential for an exhibition space for schools – I have some ideas about that and would be happy to discuss them with anyone who is interested. More info
Donations of plants to sell on Sundays to raise funds most welcome!
We look forward to working with Friends on the Sunday public opening rotas as well, and offers of plants to sell to visitors for the funds would be most welcome.
— Anne Gray
Wolves Lane Palm House Crew