September 2017

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September 2017

The Signs of Autumn

Walking slowly round a quiet and peaceful Beatons Wood one realizes autumn is well and truly here, as leaves are beginning to fall and some trees are showing how all their leaves are quickly turning yellow whilst others remain decidedly green.

                                                                                                

 

The other thing that is apparent are the varied fungi, but many are now fully mature or have completed their fruiting cycle and disappeared.

 

                                                                                                 

 

The squirrels have knocked down many of the chestnut fruit and from the following image you can see how successful they have been in extracting the fruit from their prickly husks! 

 

 

Early this month on a very still day, I suddenly heard a popping noise like fireworks and then an almighty crash as a large branch from a nearby Spanish Chestnut tree snapped off, due possibly to the large number of chestnut fruits this branch was carrying, as there was no sign of disease when we cut up the fallen branch.

 

 

Reinstating Trampled Bluebells

I collected half a bucket of bluebell seeds some months past, to try and use this special commodity to maximum effect.  There have been some areas off the main paths that were unfortunately used by some visitors; to get what they thought would be an iconic image on their phone or camera to record their visit here.  This unfortunately has meant we have areas where there is a dearth of bluebells due to the trampling on their leaves, which means they are unable to sustain their bulbs, so have now died out.  These areas have now been forked over and fresh seeds sown, but it will be another three or four years for the new seedlings to start their annual flowering cycle.  The metal hoops we introduced this year to discourage visitors straying off the designated paths had limited success, so next year there will be a small polite notice fixed to them saying ‘please give these seedlings a chance’.  I only hope that I can report back to say that these notices have been read and visitors have been considerate enough to adhere to them, so we shall see!

 

The War on Grass

The large verge between Beatons Wood and the grass field that was sown last year with a mixture of herbs and wild flower seeds all germinated well, but so did the weed grasses especially Yorkshire Fog!  This grass is a ‘thug’ and quickly dominates an area, so it has been cut twice and removed and, now it is colder, should only have minimal growth.  We have now sowed Yellow Rattle seed collected from our old meadow by the Farmhouse, as it is a semi-parasitic annual that weakens grasses, but must be sown in the autumn, as it needs prolonged chilling through the winter to trigger its germination the following spring.  Again I will be reporting on how successful it has been!

 

The Common Spotted Orchid

Last year we acquired a very small field adjoining Bates Green Farm that had been planted with trees some years back, and this spring we were delighted to find amongst the trees there was a large area full of the Common Spotted Orchid (dactylorhiza fuchsii).  After they had finished flowering we cut off several seeding heads and, as the seed appears as a fine dust, ripened them in the greenhouse to minimize their dispersal.  Soon after the hay was cut and baled in the meadow adjacent to Beatons Wood, I waited for a still day then walked up and down this field whilst crunching the seed heads in my hands, so I was quite surprised to see the seed floating in the air as a cloud of white dust.  Again it is a waiting game to see the first flowering heads, which should appear in year three.

 

Primroses and Strawberries

We have re-erected the fencing to protect the primroses, which had been planted in the past two years, from rabbits and deer.

 

 

The existing plants did not multiply for some reason, possibly they did not have viable seeds, so as this is no problem in our garden, we took more plants from there to fill the spaces. 

 

 

We also planted wild strawberries that I remember as a child being abundant in Beatons Wood, so I trust that with some tender loving care they will quickly become established.

 

Next blog post

My aim is to try and have the next Blog posted at the end of October.

John McCutchan

This message was added on Saturday 30th September 2017


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