Summer 2013

The ponds have been filled and reduced in water level according to whatever rainfall there has been. They all look healthy, but there is some reed mace creeping in a bit, which can only be dug out when conditions are right. I allow one pond to have reed mace but do not want it to take over any of the other ponds.

There have been lots of tadpoles so hopefully there are now tiny frogs and toads roaming about, hunting and growing in the long grass.

We have an enthusiastic local young farmer who seems delighted to take in a tractor to cut the grass on the rides. There are places where branches must scratch his machinery, so it will be a winter job to hack back to the trunk where things have just grown too far out. It scratches our car, so I am sure it must be awkward for his tractor.

The biggest problem this summer has been the dreaded ragwort. There has been much writing in newspapers about this weed as the country debates what to do. There is stuff on the internet that says: let it go to seed and the plants will die and the seed does not travel far. Oh yeah. So how did it get to so many places in Gimswood in such secret?

It does seem such a shame to hack back all the ragwort. Cinnabar moth caterpillars have it as their probably only food source, so the timing of destruction has to be when they have finished feeding and before the seed heads grow. Other than that, the flowers are covered with other butterflies who love the nectar.

However, this is not a plant that can be ignored. We have to manage it by compromise between letting insects enjoy it and then doing our best to control it. Wildlife management!!!!