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Yellow Rattle

Firstly apologies for the quality of the photos in this blog.  I took a walk along Roman Road yesterday in changeable weather conditions but as I only took my mobile with me, the photos are somewhat variable.  Hopefully they are good enough to get the message across.

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Roman Road/Sandy Lane extends for a distance of around 2 km and we have been concentrating on general, limited areas.  Over time, the grass has become overgrown and coarse, so one of our first tasks to aid increasing the diversity of wild flowers, was to sow Yellow Rattle around the area of the gate at the north end of the bridle path.  This helps to keep down coarse grasses and it appears to be having a good effect, not to mention successfully self-seeding and spreading.  It’s lovely to see the swathes of delicate yellow flowers starting to bloom.  The recent rain has brought it to life.

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Nature is great at making the most of opportunities and the Yellow Rattle has attracted a delicately shaded moth, the Grass Rivulet, which uses the plant as a food source for its larvae.  So a new species for the bridle path – there because of the Yellow Rattle – which all goes to show that if the conditions are right, nature will take advantage.

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The broom in the same area is looking splendid, adding a lovely splash of colour.

Red Campion is in flower with more patches of Birds Foot Trefoil sprouting.

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The next area I looked at was the hedge that was laid.  Several native saplings were planted along the hedge, so I was keen to check on their progress.  The quick growth of nettles, brambles and cow parsley always amazes.  The area on the bridle path side of the hedge is very overgrown but it was possible to check the saplings along Romany Way – helped by an interested worker, who was involved in gas pipe relaying.

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Next to the area referred to as “Russian vine” which is looking very colourful.  The broom here shows variable results, some of the whips have not taken at all.  However, overall, it is proving to be a very interesting area.  Flitting about in the undergrowth was a Small Copper butterfly.

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Also fluttering around was a male Orange Tip.  There is a patch of Mustard Garlic on this bank, so I decided to check for eggs/caterpillars and was rewarded by finding 6 eggs and 4 larvae.  Unfortunately my photos are unrecognisable, so the pictures below are some taken in my own garden.

Also in this area were a couple more small moths, which I have not yet identified.

The flowers along the bridle path are a curious mix of wild and domestic plants – the latter have either escaped from local gardens or have been deliberately planted by locals wishing to enhance the area.  Thus there are both native bluebells and the blousier garden variety.

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No sign of any Scarlet Tiger larvae, so I guess they are pupating.  Soon be scouring the Alkanet for the adults.  Then  we have the Betony to look forward to!

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(above photo showing the ingress of Yellow Rattle and the beneficial effect of keeping coarse grass growth down)

 

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