Sowing the Woodland Site
When the Community Woodland site was first adopted, it was sprayed with herbicide, leaving bare ground which was then re-seeded in October 2008 with a meadow mix containing four fine grasses (Common bent, Crested dogstail, Red fescue and Slender creeping red fescue) and twenty-four wild flower species (sown in varying percentages): Betony, Bird’s-foot trefoil, Bladder campion, Common knapweed, Common sorrel, Cowslip, Field scabious, Hedge bedstraw, Hoary plantain, Ladies bedstraw, Meadow buttercup, Meadowsweet, Musk mallow, Oxeye daisy, Ragged robin, Red campion, Rough hawkbit, Salad burnet, Selfheal, Tufted vetch, Wild basil, Wild carrot, Yarrow and Yellow rattle.
While some of the original species have been crowded out by the grasses or more dominant species, other species have arrived by themselves. Common knapweed is one species that has done very well and you will see butterflies and bees enjoying its nectar in the summer.
The following plants were recorded flowering in April (2018): Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria), Clustered mouse-ear (Cerastium glomeratum), Cowslip (Primula veris), Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens), Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), Hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta), Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum), Lords and Ladies (Arum maculatum), Plum sp. (Prunus domestica), Primrose (Primula vulgaris), Purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum), Rape (Brassica napus), Spanish bluebell (Endymion hispanicus), Speedwell (Veronica persica), Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa).
Three Rays of Spring Sunshine! by Liz Gibbs
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Often abused for their tendency to spoil lawns, they are one of the earliest pollen flowers in spring. Any gardener will tell you that unless you remove their long tap root they will regrow.
They get their name from the French dent de lion as the leaves were thought to resemble a lion’s tooth. All their parts are edible – the leaves are like spinach! The seeds spread by means of their tiny parachutes to any rough soil.
Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)
Although only mildly toxic to humans, the Celandine is sufficiently toxic to grazing livestock that in the US it is listed as a ‘noxious weed’ and must be got rid of!
Below the plant are tiny round tubers which will break off and start a new plant so they are difficult to eradicate.
However, the shiny bright glow of the flowers is a pleasure!
Cowslip (Primula veris)
There are lots of these beautiful plants at the woodland this year! However, rather less attractively, the name comes from the Old English for cow dung as they are often found in pastures.
In Spain, the leaves are eaten as salad herbs and in the UK cowslip wine was made in most cottagers’ homes and was a great treat. Nowadays, we allow them to flower unmolested!
Three from the Pond Area! by Liz Gibbs
Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
The Purple Loosestrife by the new pond is looking stunning at the moment despite its dwindling water supply. You may have seen it growing along the rhynes on Moor Lane. Luckily, it will tolerate drier soil but will appreciate a more permanently watery environment when we line the pond in the autumn.
Musk Mallow (Malva moschata)
Musk Mallow is an ornamental plant which thrives on dry soil but it seems very happy by the pond! Cultivated forms are available for gardens too. The seeds, leaves and flowers are all edible in salads. It has been discovered that the root can help control blood sugar levels.
Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
This thistle is a big, energetic plant with beautiful purple flowers. It can grow to 1.5 metres and the deep tap root makes it a difficult plant to remove if you find it in the garden. However, it is in the top ten of the best nectar producers so well worth growing!