Wakelyns Inspiration 24th May 2021

Members of the biodiversity group, along with friends from Waldringfield Gardeners recently visited Wakelyns agroforesty farm near Metfield


The experimental farm, occupying over 50 acres, was established in the 1970's and pioneered the planting of rows of protective trees with crops in strips between. Running north south the trees were planted in pairs, one side copiced the other polarded and provided protection from wind bourne diseases.

Butterflies

Butterflies will be attracted from the local area into any garden that offers shelter from the wind and a supply of nectar from flowering plants. They may stay and breed if the correct foodplant for the caterpillar stage is growing. To overwinter, they need a suitably managed garden. Offer all these, and a particular species may be with you every season.



LARVAL HOST PLANTS The following trees, shrubs, and plants provide foodplants for the caterpillars of the species indicated. Planting more could help those species already present, whilst new species could be attracted by growing the plants not yet present.

Oaks: Purple Hairstreak
Holly (and Ivy): Holly Blue
Buckthorn: Brimstone - use purging buckthorn to fill gaps in hedges.
Broom: Green Hairstreak.
Bird's-foot trefoil: Common Blue, Dingy Skipper.
Horseshoe vetch (and other clovers): Common Blue (also Clouded Yellow, Chalkhill Blue)
Rock rose: Brown Argus.
Garlic mustard: Orange-tip.
Sheeps Sorrel, Common Sorrel: Small Copper.
Grasses:
-Cock's-foot: Large Skipper, Essex Skipper, Wall, Ringlet
-Sheeps Fescue: Grayling, Small Heath
-Yorkshire Fog: Small Skipper, Speckled Wood, Wall
-Annual Meadow-grass (Poa sp): Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown

It is important that these grasses are allowed to grow to maturity, with cutting kept to once per year at a high cut, and with a proportion of the marginal grass remaining completely uncut. Even better would be a grazing regime, by sheep or rabbits.

Weeds:
Nettle: Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma - there is no particular need to encourage nettle, as there is often enough in the general area to support large numbers of these common species.
Thistle: Painted Lady - there may already be sufficient thistle nearby to support this migrant species.

NECTAR:
Early in spring, nectar is available from the catkins of Goat willow (Pussy willow), and the flowers of blackthorn in the hedgerows will attract Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks emerging from hibernation.
Privet flowers in Jun/Jul, and attracts butterflies (provided it is not trimmed).
Buddleia is an excellent nectar source from mid July until the end of the butterfly season.
Bramble flowering in the sun provides nectar/fruit in the hedgerow from Jun to September.
Hemp agrimony alongside streams attracts all the nettle feeding species in great numbers.
Ivy blossom is the last nectar of the year, being particularly attractive to Red Admirals.
Rotting fruit (not strictly nectar), also provides an autumn feast.

To provide a nectar source suitable for the smaller species, whose probosces are too short to reach right into the buddleia blossoms, a variety of wildflowers should be incorporated into borders or long sward. Suitable plants might include:

Flowering Period
Bugle May - Jul
Bird's foot trefoil May - Sep
Red Valerian May - Oct
Field Scabious Jun - Aug
Knapweed Jun - Aug
Marjoram (vulgarae) Jun - Aug
Thyme Jun - Sep
Viper's Bugloss Jun - Sep
Hyssop Jul -Sep
Lavender Jul - Sep
Devil's Bit Scabious Jul - Oct

Garden flowers should be planted to maintain a continuous supply of nectar through the season; amongst the most popular with butterflies are:

		Spring
Primrose		Primula vulgaris			
Aubretia		Aubretia delftoidea
Dandelion		Taraxacum

		Summer
Alyssum			Alyssum
French marigold		Tagetes patula
Candytuft		Iberis amara
Lobelia			Lobelia
Aster			Aster
Sweet rocket	Hesperis matronalis
Mint			Mentha				

		Autumn
Heathers		 Calluna spp	
Ice plant 		 spectabile			
Michaelmas daisy Aster novi-belgii

Night-scented plants are an opportunity to encourage some large and attractive moths at dusk.

Jasmine (not winter jasmine)
Red Valerian
Tobacco plant
Ivy blossom late in the season
Brambles with over-ripe fruit

MANAGEMENT

The key thing is to avoid any gardening practice which kills butterflies or their eggs, caterpillars or pupae, and to provide the right conditions that they will require to overwinter. These differ depending on the stage in which particular species pass the winter months:
~ Outbuildings or trees with ivy allow adult Peacocks, Commas, Small tortoiseshells etc. to hibernate.
~ Rough grass clumps suit the larvae of Skippers and Browns.
~ Eggs laid on the buds of blackthorn are doomed if the hedge is trimmed before spring.
~ Pupae clinging to dried weed stems will perish if they are pulled out and burned in autumn.

Do not unnecessarily:
Use Pesticides
Use Weedkillers
Use fertiliser over-generously
Burn too many garden fires
Mow a vast lawn
Tidy up foodplants after flowering

many thanks to Peter Maddison for these butterfly facts.

Biodiversity Group Meeting 26th April 2021

Members of the biodiversity group met in Jill's garden and the following minutes were taken by Christine


The Biodiversity group's main purpose is in creating habitat to help endangered species (or any species before they become endangered)

The meeting considered factors leading to problems for wildlife including:
climate change leading to hotter summers;
less rainfall but concentrated in shorter periods of wet weather;
reducing loss of water unnecesarily through drainage;
exposure of soil leading to loss of soil by erosion and windblow;
exposure with loss of cover loss of foodplants for invertebrates as well as mammals and birds;
reduction in range of species found in land and water.

Hedges

Hedges are good for biodiversity, allowing transfer of species between sites e.g. woods as wildlife corridors, Wide hedges and taller hedges are much better.
Recent hedge cutting in the village has caused considerable consternation as it was very rough and destructive especially on the old gnarled hawthorns.


Hedge laying

Mariah is speaking to 2 hedge laying instructors about doing a course in the village for people to learn the craft of hedge laying. They will visit in May. Linda thought it might be expensive for the participants. Mariah is looking at possibly getting a grant from AONB as the idea would be for thoose who do the training to do hedge laying for farmers instead of them having to cut hedges. There was some discussion about the drastic cutting carried out in the winter, more than other parishes it seems.

Species used in hedges

Mariah asked what species people might like which we don’t usually get.A range of species have been supplied in the last few years by the tree council, but we need to check what we received.
Christine had a list of species being grown by tree wardens under the current nurseries project. These would only be seedlings at the moment but by autumn some might be ready to use in hedges. We can also plant seeds and nuts etc. directly when planting hedges to appear in the future hopefully. Many tree seeds have a long period of dormancy.

More hedges are to be planted next winter

Mariah proposes completing the infill of the hedge parallel to the one by the footpath to Mill Road which was done last autumn. Christine has permission to do more round the field at the crossroads where 30m was planted in the Autumn. There may be more spots available.

More possibilities – tree planting – the Waller estate may allow some tree planting near the reserve below Dairy Farm. Approaching land owners was generally thought to be best route.

Betsy's Mason Bees 16th June 2021

This video was taken on June 16th. The female Mason bee is laying its eggs in little cells in the bug hotel in Betsy's garden. This hotel has a sliding drawer which as you can see has a number of parallel tubes covered with a sheet of perspex. The hotel faces south and the Mason bee lays her eggs along with some pollen for the grubs to eat. Each cell is sealled up with a small amount of mud and the young bees will emerge next year.



Note it looks like Firefox will not render this video, but all OK in Microsoft Edge.

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