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IoW GG links

To look at the Isle of Wight Green Gym web page (contains details of sessions etc) please use the following link :-

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Thursday 27 June 2013

Wed 26th June 2013 - Brading Downs.

This week we continued with the GG war on non-native invasive species....this time the enemy was RAGWORT...! The team seem to be doing an awful lot of PPP (Pesky Plant Pulling) recently but, judging by the reduced amounts of ragwort we managed to collect, we seem to be winning (ever hopeful). Brading Down ragwort pulling has been going on for many years now - perhaps it is because we are a little earlier this year or the season is later (due to cold spring) but the trailer was only half full this time, normally it would be full to the top. The session was very well attended which when you consider the weather was sunny & warm plus the wonderful views from up there, isn't a real surprise!
Well done to all those who came along and don't worry, the back ache fades after just a few days.....

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

This week's find was Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus Corniculatus), a long lived perennial producing clusters of yellow and red flowers on 10 to 30 cm stems especially in June and July, but some flowering continues until September. The plant is very common throughout the British Isles and is found mainly in grassy and waste places, often in limestone pastures but also on some heaths and scrublands, and prefers dry and infertile sites.  The plant is a food plant for the larvae of the Common Blue, other Blues, the Clouded Yellow butterfly and the Burnet Moth.   It is also amongst the preferred nectar sources for the Dingy Skipper, Lulworth Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Small Blue, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary, and Pearl Bordered Fritillary.  It is also loved by bees who pollinate it.

Many thanks to Carrie for the Nature Lesson and Mark for the photographs this week. Hopefully, we have a GG Blog first.....moving pictures. If (and it is a BIG if) I have got it right, then you should be able to see a quick scan of the worksite at the top of Mark's selection....fingers crossed....!
P.S. Mark informs me that our first session at Brading Down was in June 2004 - so 10 years of back breaking work so far.

Thursday 20 June 2013

Wed 19th June 2013 - Alverstone Mead Nature Reserve.

Mark's Photographs.

Carrie's Photographs.

Reading back through recent GG blog pages, it seems that we have been spending much of our time "pulling up" unwanted species at sites across the Island. This week's session was to follow the same theme with sycamore seedlings and saplings being the target. The beautiful wooded area at this well known nature reserve has many established sycamore trees that, via their "helicopter winged" seeds, make an excellent job of  spreading throughout the area. Left to themselves, they would soon overgrow the entire woods - so out task was to remove as many of the young trees as possible.

The better prepared GG members were soon rubbing insect repellant into their skin and pulling socks over trouser bottoms in a vain attempt to stop insect bites before heading into the woods...! With spades, forks and mattocks at the ready Team GG were soon "attacking" the enemy. Sycamore is a little like an iceburg, there might not be much showing at the surface but there is plenty underneath. Chopping the tops off is NOT an option as each branch chopped will grow many more shoots.

By the end of the session there were multiple piles of rooted saplings throughout the area so hopefully we have held back the enemy for another year. This was a hard work session so well done to all those who attended.

Many thanks to Carrie & Mark for the photographs.

Thursday 13 June 2013

Wed 12th June 2013 - The IW Donkey Sanctuary, Wroxall.

Mark's Photographs.

It was on a cool, damp, drizzly day that Team GG met up for their Wednesday morning session this week. Having parked up in one of the Donkey Sanctuary fields (thanks to the staff for allowing us this privilege) it was a short stroll down to the banks of the Wroxall Stream that runs past here. It wasn't difficult to spot the Himalayan Balsam plants that we were there to pull...... as they were just about everywhere along the banks of the stream and in the surrounding fields. This stream is a "feeder" for the Eastern Yar river (where we have pulled this invasive plant before) so by trying to eliminate this pesky plant here might just reduce the seeds carried down stream later in the year.

We were fortunate to have a excellent turnout, considering the weather, which divided into smaller working parties that were soon strung out along the stream pulling up and filling bags full of this unwelcome visitor.

Perhaps it was because we were disturbing the insects but the sky was full of swifts / swallows diving around us throughout the morning. Amazing to watch their aerial antics....!

Not perhaps one of the most interesting jobs that Team GG undertakes but a "well done" to all those who attended - let's hope that out hard work pays off.

Photographs this week were from Mark, many thanks..!

Friday 7 June 2013

Wed 5th June 2013 - One Horse Field, Totland.

Mark's Photographs.

Carrie's Photographs.

Unusually for a summer month, our venue this week was One Horse Field in Totland.  Our normal task here is to tackle the widespread bracken, which crowds out all the wildflowers with a thick blanket of green.  It is clear that the previous area we have tackled on a couple of occasions is nothing like as prolific as it was, so this time were were clearing another area in the hope we can do the same there.  Wildflowers spotted were periwinkle and creeping vetch, so this is excellent news.  Other tasks were to cut back branches overhanging the footpath and remove a large sycamore.  We also cut back the vegetation around the fruit trees we planted last year, which are doing really well, as you can see from the picture of what could be red currants possibly?

Many thanks to Carrie for her text and photographs and to Mark for his photographs.

For those who were at the Himalayan Balsam pulling session the other week, have a look in this week's County Press. GG gets a mention on page 51 and the Besley cartoon on page 46 might make you chuckle.