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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wed 22nd July 2015, Barncourt Farm, Redhill Lane, Wroxall. GG # 594.

Sue's Photographs.

Himalayan Balsam…the "enemy".

A view across the meadow.

Just to show how much it grows - in just ONE year...

Dr. Livingstone I presume...

A bit like Jack and the Bean Stalk?
Carrie's Photographs.

Getting "stuck-in"!

Yes, they do grow tall…..

That showed them who is boss…!
Mark's Photographs.

Yes…..she IS standing up!

Just one of the many piles of "pickings".

It is just under one year ago that we last visited this site (Aug 2014) as part of our continuing crusade to rid the IoW of Himalayan Balsam. Earlier this year we worked at the Donkey Sanctuary so today was working along the same valley that runs south from there. At this time of year the undergrowth as almost at it's maximum height and for the area we were working in, this equated to over 2.4m (8 foot in old units!) Trying to hack your way into weeds and bramble at that height can be "interesting" and you certainly have to be careful of where you are treading (I fell in the stream!). We were trying to pull as much of the HB along the river bank and footpaths in the hope that we reduce the transfer of seeds later in the growing cycle. Excellent progress was made around two borders of the field where we parked but it was hard going out in the main meadow area. Never mind, every plant pulled reduces the number of new ones that will be there next year! Once again, we had a light shower of rain but the sun was soon shining through the clouds. The number of GGmers attend was down a little but it is the holiday season plus some will be doing their Grandparent Baby Sitting duties…..!

Many thanks to the owners of Barncourt Farm for allowing us to park in their field.

Carrie's Nature Find.

This week our find was the very pretty Great willowherb (Epilobium Hirsutum), a  tall, common herb with a densely hairy stem bearing long, narrow leaves that taper to a point and are similar in appearance to those of willows, hence the name ‘willowherb’.

The leaves and stems are very woolly, referred to by the specific Latin name ‘hirsutum', which means hairy, while the flowers have a rosy flush with stigmas of creamy white. This colouration is thought to have led to the alternative name of ‘codlins-and-cream’; codlins were cooking apples, and were often boiled in milk and eaten with cream.

It is a  perennial herb that spreads by seed or by means of branching white subterranean rhizomes that are produced during summer, resulting in large dense clumps, while its broad flowers are visited by hoverflies and bees. It is common throughout most of Britain, with the exception of the far north-west , and its numbers have increased in Wales, south west Scotland and the north of England.  It is also found in mainland Europe as far north as southern Sweden, and also occurs in temperate parts of Asia, and north, east and south Africa.

Thanks to Sue, Carrie and Mark for the photographs.

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