Banner image: Yellow Loosestrife, Mike King

June in the garden

Because of holidays and visits we haven’t had a complete team of gardeners most weeks this month. However, work has continued!

At the beginning of the month the long grass in the Sensory and Wildlife Garden was cut and so a couple of us spent some time raking it up. There were several barrow loads, all of which were deposited in the compost bins. The stand of stinging nettles near the Arbour were not affected by the grass cutting as we want to leave these in place for butterflies. Nettles are one of the most important food sources for caterpillars of butterflies such as the Cabbage White and Red Admiral.

In the middle of the month the Great Big Green Week took place. This is the UK’s biggest community action to tackle climate change. A number of activities were held at the Forest Centre and our contribution was to hold a plant sale. We set up a table with plants grown in the gardens here and we also bought in some grown at home. All of the plants were grown in peat free compost and identified using wooden labels. We also had pictures of some of the plants laminated and available to show visitors what they looked like if they were unsure. It was a very hot day and there weren’t many visitors but we did sell quite a few plants and the money raised will make a welcome contribution to our funds.

Image: Lavatera, Mike King

As well as general tidying up around the garden we removed a lot more dead Forget Me Nots and Comfrey plants. These will both have scattered some seed so there will be plenty more next year. We also cut back the suckers from the fruit trees and fed the roses.

There is a lot of colour in the garden at the moment. There are poppies throughout the Sensory and Wildlife Garden. These are single flowered varieties which attract bees as the pollen is easily accessible. The Yellow Loosestrife and Lavatera are also in flower at the moment as well as a large number of Geraniums. The Persicaria and Lavender are coming into flower and attracting bees. We also noticed Cuckoo Spit on the Lavender. This is a white frothy liquid secreted by the nymphs of sap sucking Froghoppers. These insects are an important part of garden biodiversity and don’t harm the plant.

Image: Cuckoo Spit on Lavender, Mike King

Another interesting plant in the garden is what we believe to be called Bluestars (Amsonia). This appeared last year and was not planted by us so we’re not sure how it got there.   

There have been a number of lower schools visiting over the last few weeks and its lovely to see the children’s excitement when they are pond dipping. A number of them have caught tadpoles, newts and various other creatures. We did hear one little girl say that it was the best day of her life!

We should have a full team of gardeners next month and are looking forward to carrying on our work and talking to our visitors.

Image: Bluestars, Mike King

You can get involved in supporting your local Forest beyond The Great Big Green Week. Join us today and become a volunteerFrom wildlife surveys, gardening and supporting events, there is something for everyone!

Interested? To find out more or register your interest contact our Community Engagement Officer