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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wed 4th June 2008 - The Roman Villa, Brading.

Frequent readers of this blog site will be fed-up with me starting the page recently with "This week we were at a new site......" - but I find myself using it once again. One of the great things about Green Gym is all the different places that we get to visit and this year we are going to more new venues than ever. The grounds of the Roman Villa are quite extensive and one area, entitled "the paddock", seemed to have more than it's fair share of ragwort. All GG members were given a detailed brief about pulling the plants, then it was down to hard work to pull and bag as much as possible. This was a well attended meeting, we even had two new members helping to swell the numbers even further...! The weather was much improved on last Wednesday (see previous blog) with sunny skies and the temperature just right for active work. Come tea break, we were treated to a drink and cake of our choice at the centre and we were invited to take a tour of the main building. A big thank you to those who made this available to us.
Keen eyed "pullers" noticed what we thought were a couple of orchids in the field, one of which was a bee orchid - the other unidentified. See the two e-mails below the pictures for definitive answer - courtesy of our resident photographer Carrie. Many thanks for the pics and info Carrie.
E-mail one.... Attached are a couple of pictures of us actually working and the bee orchid. There is also one of the other plant we thought was an orchid, but Colin Pope says it is actually broomrape, which is a parasitic plant having no leaves and no food source of its own so it extracts these from other plants, probably the leaves you can see in the bottom of the picture. Not only does the Green Gym keep you fit and healthy, it’s also a bit like a huge outdoor classroom where you can discover all sorts of fascinating information.
E-mail two... Apparently the plant is not just broomrape, but Common Broomrape, as apparently there is more than one sort. Further research reveals they do not possess chlorophyll and are often red or brown. This makes them very unusual in the plant Kingdom, because most plants do contain chlorophyll and can photosynthesise. The stems are very stiff and straight. There are many different types of broomrape, and they can be found growing as parasites on different plants such as gorse, ivy and carrot.

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