Thanks to the volunteers who turned out on Friday morning for our first work party of 2017/18 – in glorious sunshine. The focus was on raking up the grass cut taken by the Council, on the island and the area at the north end of the bridle path, where we are ‘developing’ a wild flower area. The grass still grows vigorously here but the diversity of flowers is steadily improving. The photo shows Joe weeding around the broom we planted a couple of years ago.
Linda brought along some Ox-Eye daisies and Forget-me-Not which were planted in various spots in the ‘meadow’. The photo also shows some of the new tools which Andy procured with project funds. In addition to the equipment supplied by Dudley Council, we rely on our volunteers to bring their own gardening tools, so these should help.
From the photo it is also clear that the gate has not been replaced. Work parties always raise unexpected issues and a couple of passers-by asked why we had removed the gates! Thus it gave us the opportunity to explain that this was nothing to do with Scarlet Tiger Project. The gate was the victim of an act of vandalism earlier in the summer. The plan is to replace the gate and post with a new wooden feature, which will be paid for from project funds, as a good will gesture.
There is a new generation of Scarlet Tiger caterpillars. The area shown in the above photo is the verge under the Crematorium wall, where there is very little Alkanet and a great deal of ivy. I have therefore cleared some of the ivy around the Alkanet and planted more food plant in an effort to safeguard the caterpillars. At the moment it looks like they may run out of food.
We also found lots of wild life by way of 2 frogs, a green caterpillar (which we think may be Speckled Wood – sorry the photo’s blurry) and lots of butterflies taking advantage of the autumn sunshine. Red Admirals have been particularly spectacular but Commas have outnumbered them on the ivy in my garden today.
And finally, the Scarlet Tiger caterpillars are difficult to find at this time of year, when they hide in the undergrowth or even underground during the day. They are so tiny, it renders them very vulnerable, so it’s lovely to find one.
We will be holding regular monthly work parties under the guidance of Perry from Dudley Council. Like last year, we plan to meet on the third Friday of the month at 10am. We only work in the morning and there is a lot to do, so all are welcome. The next work party will therefore take place on Friday 20 October 2017 – details posted on our notice board.