Building Green needs you!

We are holding a meeting on 23 July and we need you.

Building Green has achieved great things in the last few years, but needs fresh blood! We are exploring reconstituting the organisation so we can apply for funds and make a bigger difference to the environment and folks of Brighton & Hove.

Come along on 23 July to the Earth and Stars pub in Brighton, 530pm, for a beer and a chat, and we’ll see where it takes us!

Drop us a line to say you’re coming along at info@building-green.org.uk

Hope to see you soon!

earth and stars pub directions

 

An open letter from Building Green

Dear friends
Building Green has come a long way since 2006.
Originally, we were constituted formally as a voluntary association. This gave us credibility, enabled us to apply successfully for funds, and establish our position in the network of community groups in the city. The formal constitution has lapsed, and I would like to invite you to discuss the value of re-awakening it. There is still work to do – green infrastructure is climbing up the political agenda, our climate threats are more apparent than ever, and there is compelling science demonstrating the link between local green space, health and quality of life.
We need help to:
– refresh the purpose of Building Green with new input
– involve more people in the leadership and delivery of our work
– enable the ability to access funds including the Council’s Community Development Fund
This is an opportunity to get involved in shaping the future of Building Green. Together we can achieve even more.
Contact us or email hello@building-green.org.uk if you would like to be involved.
Thank you!
Volunteers restore oldest, longest green wall in UK

Volunteers restore oldest, longest green wall in UK

Today volunteers with Building Green planted 45 Japanese Spindle plants to fill the gaps in the green wall at Madeira Drive, Brighton & Hove.

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Some of the volunteers at work

Originally established in 1872 this green wall is the oldest and longest of its kind in the UK. The plants were grown on from cuttings taken from the site and should one day reach as high as their 20m tall, 150 year old neighbours!

A big thank you to everyone involved.

Madeira Terraces – the beginning of an advisory panel

Last night Building Green attended a meeting of around 40 people interested in the future of Madeira Terraces and the regeneration of East Brighton seafront.

The focus was on shaping an advisory panel, that will represent interest groups in the city and work with the Council to ensure the restoration of Madeira Terraces, and the vision for the area.

Building Green is particularly keen to represent the voice of the environment in this process – not only the famous ‘green wall’, but the wider environment it is connected to…the sea, the beach and its vegetated shingle habitat, and the garden squares in Kemptown above.

Below you can listen to a recording – thanks to the Save Madeira Terraces gang! – of Building Green founder James Farrell speaking about the importance of the environment as an integral part of the seafront.

green wall bicycle Madeira Terrace

Download – Madeira Drive Green Wall small poster

 

Help needed! Planting at Madeira Drive Green Wall

The time has come to plant some new Japanese spindle at Madeira Drive green wall!

We need people to come and help on Sunday 12 May at 11am, Duke’s Mound (click for a map).

We will be planting these cuttings to fill in gaps in the green wall that runs up the hill from the eastern end of Madeira Terrace opposite Banjo groyne.

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Japanese spindle cuttings ready to be planted

No special skills required,. Bring spades, forks and gloves if you can – if not just bring a smile! Feel free to contact us to let us know if you are coming.

This is part of achieving Building Green’s vision for a fully restored green wall, thriving in wildlife, and a major contribution to the beauty of the seafront. The oldest, longest green wall in the UK.

Madeira Drives, old and new

Approximately 100 years separates these photos, showing Madeira Drive, the Volks railway, Kemp Town and the Madeira Drive green wall

 

Figs on the front. It’s all about sex.

Many people ask me about the fig trees growing on Madeira Drive at the bottom of the green wall.

We all know about the leaves used to cover Adam and Eve’s modesty, but are figs really all about sex? Well, yes.

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There are 2 trees at the bottom of Paston Place, one growing 10m tall. They are often cut back hard, but grow back quickly…tough and hardy plants even in our salty and windy climate.

Ours are male figs…so whilst they have fruit, it’s dry and inedible. In the wild, you need males and females to reproduce (like us), but also a little help from a tiny wasp (unlike us).

According to Jonathan Drori in his great book ‘Around the world in 80 trees’, in the native Turkey, the wasps (Blastophaga) are female, stingless and tiny. Wasps of both sexes hatch inside male figs and mate, the males burrowing out to die. Male figs produce pollen…which covers the female wasp as she leaves the burrow made by the male in search of figs to lay eggs in.

It’s a one way trip with a 50-50 success rate. Getting into a new fig strips off her wings so there’s no turning back. If it’s a male fig then she lays eggs which hatch to continue the cycle of life. If it’s a female fig, tough luck – it doesn’t fit her anatomy so she can’t lay eggs. She does however spread pollen around unwittingly as she goes, and when she dies her body contributes to the plant’s growth.

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A couple more interesting facts. The smell of the ripe female figs is designed to attract bats and birds to spread the seeds. And the natural laxative effect of eating the figs ensures the seeds get a good dollop of fertiliser to help them along.

So if we can’t eat the fruit, what about the leaves? I once met someone who picked a fig leaf to munch on his way along Madeira Drive every day and swore by the health benefits. Well, turns out regular consumption may lower triglycerides which are implicated in obesity and heart disease. Just watch out for that laxative effect!