Mill Road, Marcham, 18th June 2016

Green Gym today arrived at Manor Farm, Marcham with the single-minded purpose of attacking the Himalayan Balsam now in the flourishing part of its season. This superficially attractive flowering invader is an annual plant imported (I believe) by the Victorians to beautify their gardens. 

Unfortunately it has had a devastating effect on indigenous plants. It is prolific along the banks of rivers, ditches and other wet areas where its rapid growth shuts off the sunlight from any other plants and prevents their growth. 

Now is a good time to tackle the balsam before it fully comes into flower and scatters a huge amount of seed to provide next year’s crop. Fortunately it has a weakness; generally it is very easy to pull out. The main aim is to give indigenous plants a chance to recover.

Today’s Green Gym was a small group of seven, led by Margaret Notley.

“Hey, hey, what a beautiful day!” Ursula and James arrive at the field of operations.

The hunt begins in earnest. Margaret and Eleanor ensue there will be no hiding place for the Himalayan Balsam.

Michelle makes a find – interesting but not Himalayan Balsam.

This is the stuff! Temptingly close but the stream is wider and deeper that it looks and there is barbed wire behind it.

Got you! Enid and Michelle are encouraged by Eleanor’s success.

How’s that for size then?

Backs being rested at coffee time.

Beautiful native oxeye daisies prosper in parts free from Himalayan Balsam, although we had to leave quite a lot of the balsam perhaps for another day. A good morning’s work though.



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