Love Lane Wildlife garden and food forest has some new benches and entry way.
Why not come along on Wednesday to our volunteer day 10 till 3 ish weather dependent! If it’s raining we don’t meet.
It’s been a while since the last update (mainly due to my camera breaking)… the recent heavy rain after a dry spell has everything at the Love Lane site looking lush.
Here’s a quick guide to the different types of Bluebell found at Love Lane…
This is the ‘spanish’ variety… straight stalks and flower bells all around, it’s generally found out on open ground.
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.
It’s official… there are elderflowers:
We’ve taken off the lower shoots on the willow, so there are some withies in the making:
…and the blueberry are flowering:
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:
I wonder what colour the apples will be? Here’s another happy customer:
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…
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”.
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.
Another daftly named species found on site (and photographed by a volunteer with a decent camera) is the Ladybird (Coccinellidae)…
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.
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.
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…
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.
Lots of signs of life down at Love Lane, after what apparently was ‘the warmest winter on record‘…
Campion coming through (above) and the beginnings of an Elder flower (below)…
The Blackthorn blossom already getting past it’s prime in some spots…
The ants are getting busy in the sunshine…
As are this pair of Small Tortoiseshell butterflies…
Next week we’re planning on introducing some frogspawn into our small pond, which is already full of life. More details to follow!
Visitors to the Love Lane site may have noticed that the main willow patch has recently had a severe haircut…
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):
That’s probably just a remnant of what was grown in the Larrigan ‘Estuary’ before the river was completely tamed.