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Sunday, 20 December 2009

Wed 12th Aug 2009 - Alverstone Mead

Our visit this week was to Alverstone Mead on a lovely warm summer day, although the task did not go according to plan, as the machine which cuts the hay is unfortunately broken. However, before tea we cleared a large field of common ragwort and piled it up in the trailer, which was somewhat inconveniently placed at the end of the field, so the walking distance got longer and longer. One of the big oak trees in the reserve had fallen down across the pathway, and the larger branches had been removed with a chainsaw and dumped in a big pile. Our second task of the morning was to cut the large branches into smaller more manageable pieces, and use them to construct some habitat piles.

Carrie’s Nature Lesson

This week’s plant is Meadowsweet (Filipendula Ulmaria), and its folk names include Bridewort, Queen of the Meadow, Steeplebush and Trumpet Weed. It is a perennial plant, with a creeping rootstock that sends up a reddish angular stem branched near the top and bearing alternate, pinnate leaves with leaflets that are entire or irregularly cleft, serrate and downy white beneath. The small yellowish-white or reddish flowers grow from June to August. The plant contains salicylic acid, which is useful for influenza problems in the respiratory tract, gout, rheumatism, arthritis and fever. Meadowsweet tea is also recommended for bladder and kidney ailments, and the decoction can also serve as a wash for wounds or sore eyes. Apparently its magical properties mean it can be used for love spells, its scent cheers the heart, and if gathered on Midsummer it will give you information regarding thieves. If you have been robbed, place Meadowsweet on water and if it sinks the thief is a man, if it floats a woman.

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