Tuesday, 29 March 2011

'the stumpery'

As you enter Mushroom Farm, there is an area of horse chestnut and sycamore trees. They have been neglected for many years and sadly many are diseased or dying. The trees are all of the same age and so there is no variety in height and the canopy has closed above them with little apart from sparse and spindly brambles and elder as an understorey.

Many trees will need to be removed due to the overcrowding and disease.

What to do?

Well, my idea is to create a 'stumpery'. If the trees are to be felled, they do not all need to be taken off at ground level. It is possible to create stumps of different heights that have been ring barked to kill them. This means sawing through the bark all the way around so that sap cannot flow upwards.

The dead stumps would then be a paradise for invertebrates, mammals, bats and birds. The stumps would become clothed in clematis, ivy, honeysuckle and other climbers providing shelter food and nesting and breeding sites.

The felled logs could be used to mark out a pathway guiding visitors through this little garden.

The woodland floor would burst with flowering plants as light pours in.

This plucky patch of violets (possibly one metre in diameter) gives a hint of how flora rich this area could become. They are growing in the shade with little moisture and on impoverished soil. I am not sure what variety these are  as violets hybridise  easily.
Native wild violets are an important wild plant for the high brown fritillary, dark green fritillary, and small pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies and they are the larval food plant of the silver washed fritillary butterfly.

Their tiny flowers are exquisite.

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