Unfortunately the 29th March, was not a very good start to the 2015 Maintenance Programme. It was necessary to cancel the session at the last minute due to rain and very wet soil conditions. We were very disappointed, especially as the weather had been marvellous two weeks earlier (remember the crocus display).
One month later, 26th April, we tried again! The weather still wasn’t ideal and the sunny weather since the previous cancelled session had certainly had an impact on plant growth. The problem now was, “where to begin”!
With only two volunteers it seemed somewhat overwhelming – we do not have much hope that the wildflowers seeds planted in October will survive the vegetation. The nettles were dense and rapidly spreading, brambles were shooting up everywhere and
docks had scattered throughout the meadow. We also discovered a sapling (hawthorn ?) which will have to be removed. Of course there was the usual rubbish to be removed (cans, plastic bags, fallen tree branches, etc.).
We removed a lot of the rubbish and decided to concentrate on a small area near the gate/platform rather than trample over the meadow as the ground was quite wet in areas. We thoroughly removed nettles and docks (but I am sure they will be back!). We were concerned to see the nettle roots were growing in the tarmac path and causing damage – something that will need special attention. Removing the nettles isn’t particularly difficult, the problem is making sure all the fibrous roots are removed, but docks are harder as they have such deep tap roots that often break and will grow again.
Having cleared a small area we have planted some clumps of tansy and yellow loosestrife which will spread easily and red campion which should self seed everywhere (hopefully). We did plant some last year (on the opposite side) and they seem to be surviving.
“Our resident” pair of mallard ducks and a robin were with us most of the time. The robin was constantly collecting worms or grubs while we were weeding out the nettle roots and the mallards patrolled the pond perhaps checking out possible nesting sites?
Sunday 31st May 10.30 am-1.00 pm
Look forward to seeing you.