Our penultimate volunteer day of the year was, thankfully, a lot drier than the October afternoon’s Open Day! Before we even entered the woodland we were confronted with the entrance car park of Seren Park Gardens several leaves thick. This presented an opportunity for taking the leaves and adding these to our composting bin. From the below photo what looked like a 20 minute job for 1 person ended up taking almost all of the volunteer event and with 4 or 5 people. The photos below show the leaves in the car park, bags of leaves ready to be taken to the compost bin and the compost bin which at the end of the day was overflowing.
Seren Car Park’s display of leaves, perfect for our compost bin.
In addition to harvesting leaves for valuable mulch products, volunteers and committee members also continued to work on our project to provide additional rain-run off from The Glade area which will feed, via a channel at the back of the beehives, the pond with extra rainwater. As well as supplying extra rainwater, the soil will be damper than the surrounding area as a result of a trench being currently dug and lined with a waterproof liner. The photo below shows the liner being positioned, ready for nutrient-poor soil to be dropped in place.
The below photo shows the pond being full of water as well as a covering of pondweed. In the next few weeks, the excess vegetation will need to be removed.
Finally, the results of the bees’ work have again produced several dozen pounds of locally produced honey. Jars were placed on sale and were already selling well. Profits go back into the general funds to help keep and maintain the woodland.
The morning started with the usual flurry of activity in getting the woodland up to standard. Paths were swept of dead leaves, and as you can see below, a loose step in the area of The Mound was repaired. Tidying up in the main Glade area started so that tables of food, drinks and activities for the afternoon could take place were also undertaken.
The apples this year showed promise, but compared with 2 years ago, the harvest was slim. Even the reliable Bramley trees produced only a modest few.
However, everyone’s mobile phones were the hot topic of conversation around midday, with our weather apps showing torrential solid rain coming in from around the moment we should have opened the woodlands to our guests. And unfortunately, they were correct! From just before 2pm, the heavens opened and down came the rain. We have only had to abandon our volunteer mornings and Open day events on a few occasions and this was one of them. By 3:30, after 4 brave people had come through the gates, we decided for safety and sanity to end the day. As you can see in the below photos of some of the plants in the woodland, all look wet! Let’s hope for better conditions in early May 2022 when it’s the early Spring Open Day.
What’s going on with the weather? It’s very rare that we get such horrible weather. This morning started off looking pretty grim, a brief 30 min dry spot quickly became a torrential downpour by 11:30. Added to a rumble of thunder and some lightning, it was decided to end the event early. There might be a mid-week event volunteer event later this month, keep a lookout on here. We had hoped to continue with the butterfly counting event, but in the brief time we were on site this morning, not surprisingly we didn’t see a single butterfly.
No matter that the rain was pouring down, the fruit trees are starting to produce some good size apples and pears, let’s hope we can have an Autumn open day event.
Ripe and ripening blackberries and growing Bramley apples.
Needless to say, the pond needs no topping up with any water. It’s looking very well at the moment. The below picture shows some bulrush plants and flowers on the pond margins.
Our evening’s butterfly count results showed quite a various number of different species present. People recorded large whites, small whites, green-veined whites, commas, jersey tiger moths, red admirals and speckled woods.
Below is a photo of a jersey tiger moth captured by one of the evening’s volunteers.
We will continue the survey once again on the next volunteer morning on Saturday, 7th August, starting at the usual time of 10:00. You can download the app or ID chart and come along and do a survey www.butterfly-conservation.org
It certainly didn’t look pleasant earlier on in the morning, but by 10 o’clock, the sun was coming out and a splash of blue sky had appeared. Around 15 or people turned up throughout the session, very impressive considering the deluge earlier!
As usual, with the warm(ish!), bright and wet days, the brambles were on the march. Weeding and removal took place around the entrance area, as well as in the Oak Glade area.
Another task was to stake an Elm tree that we had planted several years ago in the Glade area, but had drooped quite a bit. Committee member Nigel Duncan can be seen below making a wooden stake for its support. Further down, Paula can be seen next to the tree. Our Dutch-elm-disease-resistant elm trees were planted in 2016, 60 cm high, and is now 7-8 m tall. We hope it will recover well from its mishap.
Some of the children who joined the event found a smooth newt, found by two of our youngest volunteers, aged 6 and 7, near the roots of an apple tree not far from the pond.
Another task on the agenda was to continue work behind the beehives, with the installation of a liner and gentle slope with the ability to collect and store water, and allow for a more diverse range of plants to be grown in the area. The 3 beehives had plenty of activity when the sun came out later in the morning.
Finally, the apples in The Glade area are starting to grow. Last year’s crop was a bit disappointing, and recent heavy rains and winds had knocked a few smaller ones to the ground. But the below photo shows Bramley apples starting to grow nicely. Also, a Geranium has self-seeded right in the middle of The Glade. How it got there is a mystery!
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