Overcast skies with a potential drop of rain didn’t discourage eight Westcombe Woodland members from turning up in the morning at our Maze Hill entrance to commence another volunteer day. When the skies cleared, warm sunshine greeted us to see how the woodland is progressing in mid Spring. The main aim of today’s visit was more weed clearing in the “Glade” area. The recent warm days with increasing amount of sunlight, along with the rain has encouraged invasive brambles to grow at quite a rate. Further willowherb and other weeds were also cleared from around the glade area.
During our volunteer day in October 2014, we took delivery of several dozen wild flower “pluglets” and planted these in a small area to the immediate south of the orchard area. It was very encouraging to see some of these plants already in flower, with primroses and wild garlic already making a strong display. Also can be seen some of the bluebells we planted too.
Here is a photo of one of the fruit trees (a variety called Rubino) already showing a strong display of blossom. Our essential weeding is necessary to keep up the ground flora’s diversity in order to stop coverage of dense and fast growing ivy, brambles, nettles and other ruderals. While weeding a butterfly (most likely a Common Blue) fluttered past in the cleared area.
As can be seen in the adjacent photo, a rather large plant called Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) had made an appearance in the glade. This is a native, biennial plant, which flowers in May. Associated with calcareous soils in Europe, it is an edge species, growing in hedges, clearings and open woods. It is a common component of ruderal communities. Along the footpath leading to the glade area, additional bluebells planted last year were also flowering, creating a pleasant and natural looking environment.
These final 2 photographs show further successfully growing pluglets that were planted in early October 2014.