Sunday, 21 April 2013

More work in the Pocket Park

The weather has not be conducive to much outdoor work so far this spring so today's fine weather was very welcome. A team of six: Emma and David Marsh, Lynda and Damien Moran, my wife Chris and I, gathered in the Pocket Park to continue the job of creating an area supporting native plants, putting in plugs of Cowslips, Devil's Bit Scabious, Ragged Robin and Chicory and a number of other species.

Hard at it! L to R: Dave, Emma, Chris and Lynda
Stigmatogaster subterranea at Byfield Pocket Park
21 April, 2013
The soil still contained roots of Stinging Nettles, Brambles and Rosebay Willow Herb and we removed these as we went along. Bits of root will have been missed so we'll need to be vigilant over forthcoming weeks. The stony ground is free-draining and was rather dry so, although I had been keeping an eye open for earthworms, only a few came to my attention. I did, however, find several specimens of the Western Yellow Centipede Stigmatogaster subterranea. This soil-dwelling species, with about 80 pairs of legs, is very common and I had already recorded from the Pocket Park. It feeds on small soil organisms and will apparently tackle caterpillars. It was a very lively specimen and a good photograph proved to be tricky. We normally put in a couple of hours work but we did overtime today, anxious to get all the plants in, but there was time for a well-earned break.
Coffee up!  L to R. Lynda, Damien, Chris (behind
Emma) and Dave. 20 April, 2013 

An Elm, of a strain believed to be resistant to Dutch Elm Disease, has also been planted nearby and we will be anxious to see how it fares. Emma has made a check of our Ash trees for signs of Chalara attack but so far they appear to be clear. So, for all sorts of reasons, the next few weeks should be very interesting.

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