Laying a New Path - April 9th, 2022
A new path has now completed the mini network of walkways across our Milford Hollow site.
A local resident, and frequent visitor to the site, tests out the new path.
Bug Box - 20th March
We have installed a bug box to encourage a greater range of bugs and insects to the site. They can be an important source of food for other animals like birds and bats, essential to pollinate our flowering plants, predators to other insects like aphids, and useful workers when it comes to decomposition and giving us nutrient rich soil.
Bug boxes provide snug, safe places for insects to hibernate. Full of dark nooks and crannies and different structures, they replicate the kind of features lots of minibeasts and other animals look for.
They are especially good for lacewings and ladybirds. These two species are very important as lacewing larvae and adult ladybirds and larvae consume insect pests. They avidly devour aphids!
Wood lice and hibernating solitary bees and wasps, may also take up residence at the stack.
Action Day - 22nd January
Our team of 17 volunteers was split into two separate working groups: one to add to our planting scheme and the other to rebuild the edges of the path.
•Butchers-broom: (Ruscus aculeatus) is an evergreen plant of dry woodland areas in southern England. It loves shade, is slow growing and is considered to be an indicator of ancient woodlands. We planted 10 of these plants.
What appear to be its leaves are actually flat stems; the plant has no leaves. These flattened stems are quite tough and have a very prickly end to them which gives it another name used in some parts - knee holly. This plant is, amazingly, a member of the lily family. The flowers appear in the centre of the flattened stems from January until April and are tiny, The flowers turn into red berries, and they can be seen from October right through until the following May.
Because of its tough, spiny stems it was apparently used by butchers to sweep the floors of their shops, hence the name, butcher's-broom.
Dryopteris Fern Felix-Mas and Hart's Tongue Fern
We added to our fern collection with several more Dryopteris ferns as well as Hart's Tongues. Both species are native to English woodland and the ones we planted back in October have settled well.
Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are one of England's earliest flowering plants, and we were delighted to find some already growing in Milford Hollow. They favour damp soil and are often found in broadleaved woodland and along riverbanks, but can also be seen in parks, gardens, meadows and scrub. The species normally flowers in January and February, but there are an increasing number of December flowerings being recorded and even the occasional November sighting. We have added several more to the ones already present.
The edges of the path have been improved by the addition of logs that have been recycled from branches that fell down during a recent storm, and ones that have been pollarded. The transportation, sawing and embedding of the logs proved to be back-breaking work,
Many thanks to Wessex Care and Salisbury City Council for their generous donations which have helped to fund this project.
in Milford Hollow
9th January, 2022
The careful thinning-out of cow parsley has given other native woodland plants room to grow. We were delighted to discover celandine and Lords and Ladies. See below for more information on how these plants enable a richer woodland environment.
Celandine (spring messenger, pilewort)
With its shiny, buttercup yellow flowers and a good source of early pollen and nectar for pollinating insects, the celandine is one of the first flowering plants of the season - it nearly always appears in the last week of February when the swallows arrive, chelidonia (Celandine) being the Latin for swallow. As one of the common names suggests, celandine root was used as a haemarrhoid treatment (Pilewort).The bright yellow buttercup-like leaves were used to stop scurvy.
Lords and ladies or Cuckoo Pint (Arum maculatum)
This plant in the middle ages was connected with lovers. The flowers are contained in a broad, hood like structure called a spathe, inside a club like sadix which gives off an odour of decay attracting insects. Their interesting flower structures are pollinated by flies. The orange-red berries are eaten by birds, providing a good source of food in late summer and autumn. Having eaten the berries, birds will then disperse the seed, with new plants often emerging under hedges or in ground under areas where birds perch.The plant flowers April-May and the fruits develop in August.
Auricularia auricula-judae, known most commonly as jelly ear, wood ear or black wood ear is a species of edible fungus. It is fairly common in England and is usually found in clusters, drooping from dead and dying branches, mainly of elder but sometimes on other types of hardwood, particularly beech, sycamore and ash. It likes damp, shady conditions.
Jelly Ear has been found growing on some of the fallen branches that have been uused to edge the path.
Thinning Out of Cow Parsley
Cow parsley looks magnificent in the spring and is an early source of pollen for bees and hover flies. It is also a food plant for the moth Agonopterix heracliana and a nectar source for butterflies. However, it is quick-spreading and in danger of taking over the whole area. Removing some of the plants will allow our ferns to thrive and the spring bulbs to survive. We were delighted to find several areas of wild garlic that had been over-shadowed. Red campion has been planted alongside some areas of cow parsley as the two plants grow well together and should look lovely when in bloom.
Seven MAPG members spent a couple of hours carefully removing some of the cow parley plants.
Action Day - 16th October
Twenty volunteers armed with gardening tools, energy and enthusiasm enjoyed a perfect autumn morning digging and planting in Milford Hollow. As well as removing barrow fulls of nettles and cow parsley, we planted 600 bulbs, 80 plants and two trees. Bird boxes were fixed in place and holes were bored into logs to create havens for insects. Salisbury's MP John Glen planted a holly tree and commented on the worthwhile contribution MAPG are making to the local community.
Click here to read the Salisbury Journal article.
Rewilding Milford Hollow
Over the coming months volunteers will be laying a path and beginning a planting scheme of bulbs, ferns, perennials and shrubs. All native to English woodlands, these plants will attract birds, butterflies, pollinators and insects. Nesting boxes and areas of dead wood, leaf litter and composting vegetation, will be added to provide habitats. Our aim is to help nature to flourish, as well as creating an area that can be enjoyed by passers-by.
For more information email us on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to Wessex Care and Salisbury City Council for their support
Click on the 'Rewilding' photograph below to open our long term planting scheme.