Mill Road, Marcham, 10th June 2017

This was our first serious Himalayan Balsam pull of the season. It is necessary to try and get rid of this invasive species as it produces seed pods which, when ripe, explode and release about 200 seeds each. These are carried along water courses and colonise new sites.

We assembled in the yard at Manor Farm, Marcham and were pleased to welcome back Lydia from her honeymoon trekking in the Himalayas. She hadn’t seen any Himalayan Balsam there. We must therefore conclude that it is all here.

We set off down the lane, turning right on to a “Jubilee Walk” footpath which led us to a stream where the Himalayan Balsam grows in abundance. Tackling it is a major challenge here as much of it is inaccessible, either because it grows on the steep banks of the stream or on land which is out of bounds, huge swathes growing on the other side of barbed wire fences.

We set to work to pull up as much as we could. It had grown quite tall and didn’t require much bending over and some was already in flower. There was also a shallow spot in the stream we remembered from previous years where we could cross quite easily.

We returned to the farmyard for our tea break and gathered in the barn. Sadly, the plastic picnic chairs which we had used in the past had disappeared but there was a large concrete block, rather like a sacrificial altar, which served as a table.

Then it was back to work, and by the end of the session we had some pretty impressive heaps. We have one more Himalayan Balsam session here in a month’s time.

The Balsam pull begins.

A small section of the Himalayan Balsam.

Pulling continues.

One of the largest specimens of the day!

A pile of pulled Balsam.

Tea break in the barn.


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