Despite the cancellation of today’s work day due to the threat of hurricane Bertha, 5 keen people still turned up and did a few hour’s work in the wood and park. Excitingly it was the first day of hand scything the wildflower meadow. Stephen had bought himself a lovely Austrian scythe and was keen to get started. After reading the manuals and watching videos online, he and William peened the blade as the rain died down and the sun came out. It took a few hours of sweat-inducing work to scythe half of the meadow, as per our meadow management plan (the other half will be done in a few week’s time).
Meanwhile in the wood the DKH Wood wombles were at work collecting litter. This time’s unusual finds were: another BB gun, one ladie’s shoe, a car wing mirror and some CDs. We managed to fill about 5 bin bags plus another one for recycling.
The willow dome has not been doing so well of late and not only has it almost entirely died, it has also come undone and was looking pretty forlorn. We tied it back together and added some coppiced branches form the wood to give it a bit more structure. Maybe next year we will plant some potted hazel instead of willow whips?
There was also a bit of a clear up to do after the tree came down and the logs were left scattered about. Some of the wood was squirrelled away for burning in wood burners (ash is the best wood for fuel) and the rest was either piled up in a corner or used elsewhere in the wood. A large section of our hedge has now been destroyed alas so we will have to consider re-planting it if we can get some more plants.
The meadow is being cut in two sections this year. 1/2 has already been mowed using an Austrian scythe. The second 1/2 will be “overstayed” and mown in late September / early October.
In order to monitor species diversity in the meadow a survey continues with 56 plant species recorded. An objective is to improve diversity with careful meadow management and the careful addition of seeds seeking to establish new flowering plants.
This Autumn we will seek to establish a small patch of Deptford Pink, Ploughman’s-spikenard, Nettle-leaved bellflower and Dark mullein using small amounts of seed from Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset and Hampshire.
DEPTFORD PINK (Dianthus armeria) is CLASSIFIED AS ENDANGERED AND AT VERY HIGH RISK OF EXTINCTION IN THE WILD.