It was a beautiful bright day for cutting back the Rhododendron ponticum in the southern woods and using the unwanted branches to shield the woodland areas where thousands of bluebells and daffodils are on their way through. With 26 volunteers Ian led the way.
Rhododendrons were planted more than a hundred years ago in the Northern part of the woods to be part of the ornamental gardens. The Rh ponticum planted itself, and would continue to spread throughout the woods if allowed free rein.
There would be no bluebells or other woodland flowers, just Rh ponticum. So they have to be removed from the southern beech woods.
The loose branches and trimmings that were created were laid as hedging to protect the areas where the spring flowers have begun to push through.
Some of the volunteers were cutting, others dragging them to make hedges while some cut stakes to keep it all together. Ian had us all very well organised.
Jack, one of our new volunteers surprised us with music from his flute, handmade from elder wood grown on our site.
That doesn’t happen every day.
Scones and tea/coffee for the volunteers. Thank you Pam for making those and to Helen for helping with the refreshments.
Always a valuable part of the day when everyone can have a chat with everyone else.
And there were a lot of interesting folks to chat with.
Sadly, not everyone who uses the woods understands the need to protect the areas of bluebells and other spring flowers.
Some of the dead hedges made recently were destroyed leaving the bluebells unprotected.
Maybe the signs will help. Not desirable in a woodland but neither are trampled bluebells.
If you would like to help us and meet new friends, come and join us on the third Sunday of the month at Ipm. We will be pleased to see you.
Ian Heady – Volunteer Leader
Andrew Weighill – Membership Secretary
David Howatson – Treasurer
Pam Leadbeater – Vice Chair
Brenda Cameron – Secretary – Author
All photographs are the authors own unless shown otherwise.