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A meadow fit for a queen?
OK, Her Majesty didn't visit our meadow nor did we have a celebration there for the Platinum Jubilee but several of us did spruce it up!
Alex mowed all the paths and the verge and the rest of us cut hogsweed flower heads off so that they don't seed everywhere, trimmed overhanging vegetation and did a litter pick.
During the next month or so the meadow should be at its best with many wild flowers in bloom and hopefully loads of butterflies and other invertebrates about.
On a showery morning
There were only seven of us in the meadow but we seemed to achieve quite a bit; pulling up cleavers and nettles to stop them from taking over in the copse and beside the native hedge. We also picked up litter: pleasantly, there did not seem to be as much as usual!
A pleasant spring morning
After wintery weather in the last few days it turned out nice, allowing nine of the group to accomplish quite a lot this morning. All the pots and trays used for growing plug plants over the last few months were washed, the remainder of the bat boxes and a bird box were fixed to trees in the adjacent Baydons Wood and the old hedgerow alongside our native hedge, more brambles and ivy were removed from the copse, and young nettles and cleavers scythed from near there. Non-native daffodils were removed, some to the local community garden/verge, as our purchase of native daffodils had turned out to be mostly incorrect! The usual check round for litter happily did not result in as much rubbish as usual.
A variety of tasks
Over a dozen of us were spread around the meadow on various tasks this morning. Half a dozen more bat boxes were fitted onto riverside trees, involving ladder, hammer and nails. A final section of scrub, mainly grass, was cleared from the top edge with the brushcutter, and six trays of oxeye daisy and betony plug plants were put into the main part of the meadow. Two bags of litter were collected from all round the area, many wind-blown twigs were swept up, overhanging brambles removed and discarded Xmas trees cut up.
After the overnight storm ... the weather was kind
After a wet and windy night, the weather was kind for a well-attended task morning in which a lot more bramble and nettles were cleared to complete the scallops along the scrub belt.
We found that a large branch had fallen from the native hedge: this was sawn up and stacked as a habitat pile.
Some of the ivy that had been spreading across the ground in the copse beside the cycle path was cleared. It turned out there is plenty more to clear to allow the spring ground flora to flourish. Several Hedgerow Cranesbill plugs were planted and the snowdrops are in bud.
Other tasks were neatening up a section of the native hedge plus the usual litter pick.
Providing for bats
The group have had the very kind provision of a dozen home-made bat boxes by the husband of a member: they are beautifully made and we hope the local bats will be attracted to roost in them. The son of another member donned his climbing equipment to position three of the boxes high on a large willow tree near the footbridge. See photos of the boxes and of their fixing in the Gallery section of the website.
Further work on the scrub belt
There were a dozen of us today working on several tasks: a quick litter-pick, coppicing one of the hazel trees in the copse, cutting it up and reinforcing the dead hedges, brushcutting the grass against the scrub belt so that the path can be moved up a little, and continuing on from last month cutting more sections of bramble and scrub. I hope passersby don't think we are destroying all the brambles as it looks like severe treatment during the winter, but it should enable regeneration and plenty of strong growth and juicy blackberries in the next season or so.