Monday, July 1, 2013

Frilford Heath SSSI, 29th June 2013

Saturday 29th saw us once again at Woodhaven, Frilford Heath to tackle the Himalayan Balsam. There were nine of us in the group, including two volunteers who hadn't been to Woodhaven before.

It was a fine, sunny day and quite a contrast to the previous Saturday on the Ock Path. Consequently, the tea break photo shows us looking somewhat more cheerful.                      

There was plenty more balsam to tackle but none of it was, as yet, in flower. Many people say it is a pity to pull balsam up as it is pretty and colourful. The bees also love it and it goes on flowering right through September. I am told that "balsam honey" is sold on some places. However, it takes over huge areas, crowding out the native plants and the fact that each seed pod, when ripe, explodes and releases up to 200 seeds means that it spreads very rapidly, often along waterways.

Where balsam has been eradicated, a variety of plants soon returns and in the central area we have worked on over the past few years we saw buttercups, cranesbill, woundwort and ragged robin.

We chose our particular areas and set to work and soon we had some quite satisfactory heaps. We didn't linger too long over our 11a.m. tea/coffee break and were back at work by 11.20.

Pulling up Himalayan Ballsam is a very satisfying occupation and I can thoroughly recommend it. We have one more official session at Woodhaven this Summer and ther is still plenty to do.

Tea Break

Carolyn and Ursula picking Himalayan Balsam

A pile of pulled Balsam!

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