Bluebells

Here’s a quick guide to the different types of Bluebell found at Love Lane…

DSC03189Above is the native ‘english’ variety…  note the drooping stalks which give it it’s characteristic look.  It’s generally found in the woods or in shaded areas.

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This is the ‘spanish’ variety…  straight stalks and flower bells all around, it’s generally found out on open ground.

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Finally, above is a very rare variety, to my knowledge only found at Love Lane…  It took me a while to identify: It’s common name is ‘Bluebells attacked by a muppet with a paint spray can’.  Hopefully we won’t see too many more of these.

DSC03196This little chap is a welcome visitor, though!

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Spring has Sprung

It’s official…  there are elderflowers:

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We’ve taken off the lower shoots on the willow, so there are some withies in the making:

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…and the blueberry are flowering:

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What with the cherry, damson, blueberry, elder, wild garlic, pear and most of the apple, not forgetting the japanese knotweed, you’d think the only colour Love Lane can do for flowers is white!

But then you catch a flash in the corner of your eye…  hidden amongst hazel and almost eaten by a monster brash-pile, there is this:

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I wonder what colour the apples will be?  Here’s another happy customer:

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Blossom and Bees

A few recent pictures from Love Lane…

DSC03026Cherry blossom putting on a fine display.

DSC03048Damsons, likewise.

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…which keeps the Bees happy. :)

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St. Ives Community Orchard Work Party – 10/5/15

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That’s 2pm – 4pm on Sunday 10th May 2015… see the project page for a map!

 

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Cowslips and Catkins

ANNOUNCEMENT: The regular ‘first Sunday of the Month’ volunteering day won’t be taking place at Love Lane this Sunday (5th April 2015) due to outside engagements, but we’ll be there on Wednesdays as usual, and on Sunday 3rd May.

This week saw the welcome return of the Cowslips…

DSC02907…Now spreading up the slope on the East side of the site.  They’ve been ‘fenced off’ with canes and string, to avoid accidental mowing.

DSC02920Some of the Hazel is putting on a nice display of Catkins, which look beautiful shimmering in the wind.

DSC02915The first flush of blossom is appearing on the fruit trees (like this apple above).

 

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Life In The Slow Lane

One of the few reptiles resident at the Love Lane site is the Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis).  Prey to domestic cats, badgers and hedgehogs, they enjoy ‘Protected Status’ in the UK, and under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to “intentionally kill, injure, sell or advertise to sell them”.

Slow Worm 1Last year we placed a some old corrugated iron on the ground within the enclosed area in an effort to encourage them – the one above preferred some old carpet.

Slow Worm 2

Neither particularly slow, nor a worm, they are actually legless lizards and have the ability to autotomize – that is, they can shed their tail, leaving it violently squirming behind them in order to escape from predators.

Slow Worm 3The tail re-grows, but not to the same size.  It’s therefore important to leave them alone if possible, but if they do need to be relocated out of harm’s way, very gentle handling is required.

Another daftly named species found on site (and photographed by a volunteer with a decent camera) is the Ladybird (Coccinellidae)…

Ladybird

Again, the English language confuses us, as they are neither ‘ladies’ nor ‘birds’, but beetles –  and with over 5,000 different species worldwide, plus variation in the number of spots within a species, I’m not even going to attempt to identify this one.

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Oh No, Knot You Again…

The Sun is shining, the birds are twittering, someone’s weaving, someone’s whittling…  and guess who shows up?  Why, it’s our old friend Fallopia japonica, commonly known as Japanese knotweed.

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Left: No place to hide / Centre: This one means business / Right: You’re Flagged

The little orange flags are to help us stay aware of where it is, so it doesn’t get inadvertently cut during they year – if it’s cut, it just gets angry, sending horizontal roots out for metres.

This will be the third consecutive year of (reluctant) targeted use of the systemic herbicide ‘glyphosate’, but as the following image shows, all of that crawling around in the brambles clutching a syringe looking (and sounding) like Darth Vader may have all been worth it…

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So if you see any little orange flags around the site, please avoid them, and please keep children and pets away from them.  That way, some day soon, there will perhaps be no more little orange flags, and we can hang up the goggles and respirator.

 

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More Signs of Spring

Lots of signs of life down at Love Lane, after what apparently was ‘the warmest winter on record‘…

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Campion coming through (above) and the beginnings of an Elder flower (below)…

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The Blackthorn blossom already getting past it’s prime in some spots…

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The ants are getting busy in the sunshine…

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As are this pair of Small Tortoiseshell butterflies…

Small Tortoiseshell

Next week we’re planning on introducing some frogspawn into our small pond, which is already full of life.  More details to follow!

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What’s Happened to the Willow at Love Lane?

Visitors to the Love Lane site may have noticed that the main willow patch has recently had a severe haircut…

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It’s a technique sometimes referred to as ‘Copparding’ – a mixture of ‘Coppicing’ (where we’d cut at or near to ground level) and ‘Pollarding’ (where we cut at a height where browsing animals – deer, etc – can’t nibble the new shoots).

While we’ve yet to see any deer at Love Lane (although there are reports of Muntjac as close as Marazion), we thought we’d save ourselves some backache when it comes to harvesting the withies for weaving – with the added advantage of maintaining good sight-lines through the patch.

Check out the withybeds in this film footage from 1949 (Looe):

 

You can see what we’re aiming for at about the 20 second mark.  The 1878 OS map of our area shows ‘Osier’ (withy) beds right in the middle of the current Rugby pitch (circled red):

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That’s probably just a remnant of what was grown in the Larrigan ‘Estuary’ before the river was completely tamed.

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PEN Annual General Meeting 2015

A reminder that the PEN AGM is due to be held on Thursday 26th March 2015 at 7.30pm, in the Dolphin, Quay Street, Penzance.

See you there!

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