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Thursday, 15 November 2012

Wed 14th Nov 2012 - Medina Valley Centre, Dodnor.

The first 4 photographs were taken by Frank Cope of the Medina Valley Centre.
(many thanks Frank!)

Carrie's Photographs.

This GG session was a follow-up to one we had back in the summer. The first session was for us to clear an area of ground alongside a boundary fence and this week we went back to plant up a new hedge along the fence line. In between these sessions, contractors had been in to erect new posts and wire - utilizing as much of the original as possible - thereby retaining some of the railway industrial archeology. This boundry divides the MVC land from the Newport / Cowes cycle track which was originally the railway line.

In total, some 110 tree and shrub "whips" of assorted varieties were planted in a double row, some 40 metres in length. Each was staked with a cane and fitted with a plastic rabbit guard to give them the best possible start in life. We look forward to returning to the Centre in future years to see how the hedge grows.

Other tasks undertaken were to gather up cut grass and general work around the site.

 Carrie's Nature Lesson.

Two finds this week, the first being some beautiful sloes (Prunus spinosa), a large deciduous shrub or small tree with blackish bark and dense, stiff, spiny branches.  The leaves are oval with serrated margins and the flowers have five creamy white petals.  They are produced shortly before the leaves in early spring, and the fruit called a sloe is black with a purple-blue waxy bloom, ripening in auturmn and harvested in the UK during October or November after the first frosts.  Sloes are thin fleshed and have a very strong astringent flavour when fresh.

Our second find was a very spectacular fungi, kindly identified by Dr Colin Pope, as a Velvent Shank (Flammulina Velutipes).  This is quite a common mushroom, whose fruitng season is mainly from September to March, which can resist winter frosts, emerging totally unscathed when thawed.  They are usually found in medium to large tufted clusters of dead or decaying wood, favouring elm and oak.  The caps are a striking orange-brown colour, with a distinctly sticky surface texture.

Many thanks to Carrie for the photographs and nature lesson.

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