Martin and Liz spent a very productive few hours gardening:

“The wild flower bed in the buried lock site behind St Benedict’s Church has remained untouched since lockdown. In that time it has coped with extremes of heat and drought in April and May, and cold, rainy weather in June. Yet most of the plants have survived. Unfortunately, the invasive Himalayan Balsam has also flourished with its thick stems and glossy leaves. It will not flower for another month so Gordon uprooted them all before they had time to pop and spread. A job well done.

Some of the seeds of the more welcome plants are now ripening, like foxgloves, honesty, salad burnet and red valerian. Others are in full bloom and Liz and I got photos of most of them. The teasels, buddleias, bird’s foot trefoil, rosebay willow herb, fox and cubs, and welsh thistles were particularly colourful. They all attract pollinators.

Other plants are just about to flower, including hemp agrimony, some cultivated alliums, hawk weed and nettles. The latter is a garden scourge to many but butterflies like the red admiral, the comma, the peacock and the small tortoiseshell lay their eggs on it. Let the nettles grow in a sunny, sheltered position which will be much more attractive to the butterflies.

As the lockdown eases the SCS volunteers will be able to give more care to the beds here and to the one next to the canoe store in Coed Gwilym Park. We must never forget that one of the Society’s four aims is ‘to protect the flora and fauna in, on and around the canal.”

Click Plants1July2020  to see Liz’s photos of some of the plants.