April/May 2023 update


April/May 2023 update



Arlington Bluebell Walk and Beatons Wood


The 50th Bluebell Walk has proved to be a very challenging season to manage! The memory of the first two weeks will remain with me for a considerable time! Some cars needed a tractor to extract them from the car park field and we were spreading grit in the muddy areas of both Beatons Wood and the road verge, which on some days was the only parking available! Beings so cold and wet delayed the bluebells appearing, whilst the Sun Terrace with the new shading was not used! Difficult for the charities, as mud, wet and cold deters many visitors.


It all changed from the May Bank Holiday, as our visitors enjoyed the warm sun and came in record numbers, with the bluebells trying to catch up being two weeks later than last year.

  Morning bluebells by Patrick Campbell  


We close this Wednesday 10 May with the bluebells throughout the wood looking magnificent, what a waste, but we could not anticipate April weather conditions back in December! We have to decide the opening dates very early with the participating charities, so they can muster their volunteers, brochures have to be printed and the innumerable enquires that start of the beginning of the year, need definitive dates especially those who organize group visits.


The current forecast over the Coronation Bank Holiday is not encouraging for a walk in our lovely countryside, so I fear our 50th will unfortunately be remembered for the wrong reasons.


I do not have any further images this month to share with you, as other duties occupied much of my time, hence the lateness of this Newsletter, but there are many images posted online by visitors. For example on Google, Instagram and Tripadvisor

I now look out of the window while writing this, to see drizzle steadily falling, so no bumper ending to what should have been a memorable year!


Rest assured, we are now planning both minor and major changes to improve the experience for both the participating charities and you our visitors, ready for when the 2024 Arlington Bluebell Walk opens!

John McCutchan




May is a magical month at Bates Green Garden, bringing colour, texture and contrasting foliage to delight us. We are pleased to say that many birds have chosen to nest in the Garden, including a nuthatch on the Oak tree in the Woodland Garden.

I would like to use this newsletter to ask you readers to lock up your mower, liberate your lawn and join the brilliant “No Mow May” campaign which is run by the wild plant conservation charity Plantlife. www.plantlife.org.uk
The idea is, that if we all commit to leaving all or at least a part of our lawn alone at least for this month then that will result in a huge impact on the biodiversity of our gardens. It really doesn’t matter if you have a tiny lawn or a vast space, the effect nationally will be immense. The early wildflowers such as dandelions and clover are such an important source of pollen and nectar for bees and butterflies and so often their flowers are chopped off every week by a zealous mower. Leave them be and enjoy the sights and sounds that Nature has to offer.

Here at Bates Green we are fortunate to have a 6-acre Wildflower Meadow which been managed under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme for many years. It is a feast for all the senses, although we do prefer our visitors not to actually eat the plants!


MeadowMeadow with sheep

John always mows a path through the meadow to enable our visitors to experience the flora and fauna close up but this month the task has been handed over to Alex, our student who has been receiving expert lawn care lessons from John

We are keen to use this meadow as an educational resource in order to promote conservation and a more ‘natural’ way of gardening. With this in mind, on Thursday 25th May we have invited Colin Reader as our guest speaker for the inaugural Bates Green Study Morning. Colin is the owner of Wild Flower Lawns and Meadows Ltd and he plans to show our attendees how to create spectacular wildflower areas using seeds, plants and wild flower turf. There will also be the opportunity to visit the Bates Green Garden Wildflower Meadow and identify some of the various wildflower species we have growing in our heavy Wealden clay soil.
Please find the details on our website www.batesgreengarden.co.uk and follow the link to Study Mornings.

Hedge outside Bates Green gardenYou may have noticed that the hedges here are starting to look somewhat shaggy. This is deliberate as hedges are veritable havens for a myriad of flora and fauna. Their presence, particularly in urban gardens, is vital to create corridors for wildlife and they are to be recommended over rigid fences both visually and environmentally. At the moment they are growing away at speed but they are also highly likely to contain active birds nests, most of which cannot be spotted. The RSPB advises us to avoid any hedge cutting between March to August in order to protect the eggs. So, be proud of your wayward boundaries and take full advantage of the voracious appetites that garden birds such as blue tits have for aphids and caterpillars. It is said that the hatching of their chicks is perfectly timed with the emergence of aphids, which are the most common pest to be found in our UK hedges. Relax and take advantage of the natural balance of pest and predator.


Enjoy your gardens or outdoor spaces and remember, “all things seem possible in May” (Edwin Way Teal)


Emma Reece - Head Gardener



Arlington Bluebell Walk and Farm Trails - www.bluebellwalk.co.uk

Bates Green Garden - www.batesgreengarden.co.uk





This message was added on Saturday 6th May 2023

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