Well, the hottest day of the year so far, and we had a working party. The state of the SSSI is monitored by Natural England, and they are always very complimentary about how the site is being managed. They are concerned about the spread of invasive species, and in this case the Michaelmas Daisies in Areas A and B at the Warren Road end of the boardwalk were the subject of their attention. Therefore, following our work on Himalayan Balsam last time, we had a go at the daisies this time. We don't usually start working parties until October, but the advice was that these daisies need cutting down before they flower and set seed.If we do this for a few seasons, we should weaken the plants enough to give the native plants they are swamping a fighting chance.The down side is, August can be hot, and so it proved today!
At the same time as the Grizzly mower was being used to cut the dasies, Chairman John was to use his scythe to do more tidying of the boardwalk edges, which have been overwhelmed by the rampant vegetation. This brought about a pleasing juxtaposition of old and new technologies:
The scythe in use:
By the time we'd had enough the affected area looked like this
It had looked like this before the event:
Meanwhile, the scything and cutting crew were working hard. The scyther having scythed, brooms and pitchforks came into play to pick the cut stuff up and move it to dumping sites. This is either one of those intrepid workers, or the first sighting of the Green Man (or Woman perhaps?)
By the end of the session (which due to the conditions was in slightly under the scheduled two hours) we were all very hot. And I sustained a big broom-related blister. Such dedication to the cause!
Here is Chairman John's message of thanks, and a call to arms for the next sessions:
As always a very big thank you to the committed heroes of yesterday (Sunday) morning. It was asking a lot and in the circumstances, without the winch, we were never going to get all that material moved off site. What a huge patch the Michaelmas Daisies had become and, although they will come back, at least we've made a start on their long term eradication. Thanks again, all the effort was worthwhile and is appreciated.
Next Sunday, 14th., we'll make a start in the Central Area. Here we'll be starting 2 months earlier than usual, with the aim of catching the encroaching reed and stopping it in its tracks. Frankly, if we are unsuccessful here, all the species that get the botanists so excited will be overwhelmed and Margaret will have to seriously amend her lists! No one knows why, after all these years, the reed has suddenly misbehaved. I am hoping to get this done in three sessions, i.e. 14th. and 28th August and 11th September. Um, we'll see!