Rough around the hedges

It was beginning to resemble Sleeping Beauty’s not-so-enchanted forest of tangly thicket out there, in the ‘garden’.

hedgerow_1

all very well for jam and keeping out invaders

There are some fabulous stretches of hedgerow surrounding the land, providing habitats for all sorts of flora and fauna, but one component, namely the blackberry bush (Rubus fruticosa) is spreading like wildfire and threatening the other shrubs and trees.

In amongst these brambles are woody plants such as :-

  • Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
  • Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
  • Hazel (Coryllus avellana)
  • Oak (Quercus)
  • Quince (Cydonia oblonga)

Not to mention ex-elm trees, and climbing shrubs such as dog rose¬†(Rosa canina), and traveller’s-joy (Clematis vitalba).

small copper butterfly on travellers joy flower

small copper butterfly on travellers joy flower

I’m all for letting nature take its course, but the rate of encroachment was becoming significant and it was time to intervene. Time for something more effective than a pair of sharp secateurs and stout leather gardening gloves – bring on the tractor mounted flail cutter.

Monsieur Debroussaillage has spent a good 4 hours noisily reclaiming the margins of the land, and clearing in between the old oak trees.

Before : line of contiguous vegetation

Before : line of contiguous vegetation

After : oaks and other trees stand alone

After : oaks and other trees stand alone

LMBF_tractor_1

Let the Battle of the Ronces commence

Additionally, the so-called uncultivated pasture (aka Lower Miller Beck Fell),  was being invaded by acaia trees, which take hold at a phenomal pace. Another half days work for Monsieur D., and the field looks so inviting that we have started to talk about keeping sheep or goats again.

choked and overgrown

Before : choked and overgrown

LMBF_after

After : neat and tidy

maybe one day?

maybe one day?

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Scramble in the Bramble

Not too far from the hive, I discovered a patch of bramble which is ALIVE with bees, bugs and butterflies. The bramble flowers are just opening, and there’s a sort of creeper there too, just blooming. The best time to go is mid morning – I think there’s plenty to go round, but I did witness a couple of altercations.

~ a Marbled White Butterfly takes on a bee ~
the butterfly won

~ Large Skipper butterfly ~
has a large furry body and striped antennae

another butterfly v bee altercation
the butterfly is a Cabbage White

~ Small Copper butterfly (Lycaena phlaes) ~
sitting on Travellers Joy flower (Clematis vitalba)