Wednesday, 23 February 2011

light floods in

Just as models of cars or styles of hair indicate a certain time and fashion, so it is with features of the landscape. Each time has its signatures.
We have lombardy poplars which were planted around sixty years ago. A journey across England will now see incongruous  poplars erect and out of place screening barns or bungalows. They have the popularity of leylandii cypress and with good reason.
Not that they are useless for wildlife. The poplars planted at Lakenheath in Suffolk were grown to produce timber for matchsticks and became the home of golden orioles. In that setting, the trees seem majestic and the alien, fluting notes of the orioles add something exotic to the reserve.
Our poplars marked the highest point on the site and shaded the area beneath. They are brittle trees and could have fallen at any time: the verdict of the experts that they had to come down.
Their timber is little use for firewood as it gives off a strong and unpleasant smell.
So we have stacked the logs and hope that in time they become home to invertebrates, amphibians and anything else looking for a home.
Suddenly the light is flooding onto the woodland floor and this part of the garden is transformed. It is this kind of drastic action that is needed to make wooded areas more diverse in the wildlife they support.
The boundary hedge we hope to plant along this section will have a much better chance of survival now.

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