Saturday, 15 March 2014

More work in Byfield Pocket Park

Fine weather greeted four of us  - Emma and Dave Marsh, Chris and myself - as we gathered to work in the pocket park. We had only the one objective for the day: planting a couple of dozen trees and shrubs. The selection included birch, field maple, blackthorn, cherry and wild rose. I also put in a plant of Daphne laureola. All have been chosen to improve the park's range of insects, birds and so on.

Chris clears a suitable spot

The pocket park stands on the site of Byfield's long-gone railway station, which itself was situated in a cutting. The cutting was subsequently filled with rubble, and creating planting holes in this material can be, and is, hard work.

Dave seems to be making progress.

Rubble-filled or not,  brambles enjoy the conditions and the area is smothered with them; secateurs were frequently brought into play. We were always taught to respect our elders - but lots of these have been pulled out too. (Ouch!) Even a pickaxe was needed for the more difficult areas.

Emma takes a well-earned breather.

The pocket park probably has as many trees and shrubs as it requires, the bulk of which have been planted by Dave and Emma, but we must accept that a proportion will die, with some simply being smothered by brambles. In between the stones the soil is surprisingly fertile and we have removed a lot of plant material from the site in the hope of reducing this fertility. 

Making the soil poorer seems an odd objective but in rich soil plant thugs such as nettles and brambles will thrive, crowding out many more desirable species. The brambles and nettles will have to be tolerated in the short term but eventually they will - hopefully - be tamed. 

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