Category Archives: Love Lane

Volunteer work day

Love Lane wildlife garden is holding a community working day

Wednesday 17th April 10am – 3pm

Volunteers are asked to wear appropriate clothing for the day. You may wish to bring a change of clothes as it could be muddy. Waterproof, long sleeved clothing and sturdy outdoor footwear are essential.

bring lunch and drinks and come enjoy the day with us and green infrastructure for growth who have been helping us with lots of work over the winter.

new benches provided by GIFG

Our day will look a bit like this

10am Tool Talk and H&S briefing
10.15am – 11.30 Meadow surround planting with plug plants
(break) Litter pick across site
11.45 – 1pm Raking cut meadow areas

Pruning around lower entrance

1 – 1.45pm Lunch
1.45 – 3pm Pruning in woodland area to clear patch

Litterpick woodland
Mulching paths

3.15pm Clear up and congratulate the team!

everyone is welcome,

If you want to know more about PEN and maybe join then ask for Ian on the day.

Love Lane Wildlife garden and food forest has some new benches and entry way.

Why not come along on Wednesday to our informal volunteer day 10 till 3 ish weather dependent! If it’s raining we don’t meet.

if you would like to support PEN You can download  a copy of the PEN Membership Form  bring it along on the day or  (preferably) email payments can only be made in person at the moment


Midsummer update

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.

DSC03318The wildflower meadow (above) is looking colourful…

DSC03326With a variety of poppies…

DSC03325..and other flowers, enjoyed by the insects.

DSC03291Strawberries are still producing…

DSC03297Gooseberries well on their way… are the Blackcurrants…

DSC03359..and a bumper crop of Blueberries…

DSC03375..Apples are ripening (time to thin them out a bit next week, picking off any diseased or damaged fruit, letting the trees put their energy into the good ones)…

DSC03351..and finally, at last, we have some Pears!  That almost makes up for having missed all the Cherries (the birds had them), as they had decided to ripen during Golowan week.


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.


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.

DSC03196This little chap is a welcome visitor, though!

Spring has Sprung

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:


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).


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)…


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.

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.

hiding         JKW1          flag

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…

kw ll

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.


More Signs of Spring

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)…

elderflower bud

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

blackthorn blossom

The ants are getting busy in the sunshine…


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!