We started the week continuing on our mission to get the biomass cut in Aponia before the dry season begins and the grasses start to compete with the cultivated plants and trees for water. In the below photo you can see Fanny, standing by the Biomass Belt which is a support polyculture designed to be cut and applied to neighboring Comfrey beds, that in turn provide fertility to nearby large cultivated beds. From 2015 – 2019 inclusive these beds housed annual vegetables grown as part of our Market Garden Study. Nowadays they are largely empty, although some of our nursery stock currently resides there. In the future, these beds will become an extension of the forest garden.
|Fanny standing by the Biomass belt. The predominant species is Miscanthus x giganteus|
Markus was scything an area near to the Biomass Belt when he discovered a bee’s nest, probably a ground-nesting bee, combined with an ant’s nest on the ground. Thankfully the bees didn’t seem too upset by the disturbance and we left the area alone, scything around it. It’s great to see beneficial organisms like this in the garden and shows the value in leaving large areas of a landscape untouched. Afterward I realised it would have been better to have left the area alone completely, but as we need to bring the water into the garden soon, we wanted to clearly identify and clear the water channels in the garden. The grasses were almost as tall as some of our volunteers in places!
|A Bee and Ant nest combined|
A large limb snapped out of our 8 year old Paulownia tree this week, due to the high winds experienced during a thunderstorm. The branches from the fallen limb were used in a stick pile in the garden, providing a different habitat type for beneficial organisms to visit and possibly breed in. Having a variety of habitat types in the garden encourages a wide range of creatures to take up residence.
|The Paulownia tree with a limb snapped out|
|Our beloved 3 -legged cat Scutch on a log pile in the home garden|
Shaking the Mulberries off the tree and watching them rain down into the net is always a pleasure. This year the White Mulberry – Morus alba fruit was particularly sweet and abundant. One of our ESC volunteers Rushar is trying out making fruit leathers with them. You can find out more about how the ESC project is going on the volunteers’ personal blog. and more on this incredible tree in our Essential Guide to Growing Mulberry
The Dewberry – Rubus caesius is forming a very dense mat underneath the cherry tree. Dewberry is a low growing shrub native to Europe and found in the under-story of woodland. The plant, once established, spreads readily via rhizomes making it an ideal ground cover choice as can be seen in the below photo.
Another little shady spot in the garden with Ivy and Ajuga reptans growing in the ground and herb layers. Little nooks and crannies like this in the garden fill me with joy :)
Finally for this week, a clip of a beautiful Scorpion fly – Panorpa communis (I think) that we observed in the home garden this week.