Wild flower census, the weather and luxuriant growth …

Having worked through the month on the Wild Flower Census, I think I may have been a little over-enthusiastic with species numbers last year! I have found that it is very easy to confuse species within the same family or genus of certain plants, especially those in the Daisy (Asteraceae) family – for example the sow-thistles, hawkbits, hawksbeards and hawkweeds – and thus inflate the numbers! But in spite of this, May this year saw 67 species of which I am certain (2021: May = 59; June = 62), and this is a record! It also means that the Forest Garden is maintaining and increasing its diversity in wild flowers, all part of the evidence of increasing soil health, even with the disturbance to ecosystems brought about by planting, creation of the lentil patches (the Carrés), walking where I shouldn’t be walking, and so on. The total number of species over a year in the garden is already over 100. The full census report is in the link below.

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Knapweed, mulching and potting-on the paulownias

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Early this month I decided I needed to cut back the Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra) severely if it wasn’t to take over the whole garden! Last year it was just along both sides of the driveway, but this year it had set itself in swathes over a lot of the Upper Garden, restricting other plant growth. So the majority of it has been strimmed at what I judged to be the best time – after most of the other wild flowers were over for the season, and before the knapweed itself had a chance to set seed. It will of course come back, but it should be controllable now and should be greatly reduced.

There is also the question of ecosystems and ecological change. As mentioned in earlier Blogs, I have already noticed changes to the ecology of the Forest Garden in the short time it has been in existence, and controlling (but not eliminating) the knapweed will obviously have an effect too. But as more plants are added as the years go on, there will be change anyway, planned disturbance, so I consider this approach justifiable.

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