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Cricklepit Garden Group summer: open days, wildlife & flowers in full bloom

Posted: Wednesday 28th June 2017 by trustadmin

Wildflower meadowCricklepit Mill wildflower meadow

Summer is here and so is the next Cricklepit Garden Group blog! Updating you on all of the groups latest activities and plans for the summer.

Well what a difference a week makes with temperatures reaching record highs across much of the UK we have now settled back into a more typical British summer, but so far without the rain. Welcome to the third quarterly blog by the Devon Wildlife Trust’s volunteer Cricklepit Garden Group who look after the RHS award winning wildlife garden at the Trust’s headquarters at Cricklepit Mill in Exeter.

The theme for this blog is summer and despite the lack of rain, the garden is really coming into full bloom especially our sensory beds with the lavenders and salvia (wood sage) looking particularly spectacular at the moment and humming with the sound of bees. Cornflowers, chamomile, corncockles and poppies are starting to flower on our annual cornfield bed and the apples on our apple trees are beginning to swell. Our restored labyrinth and grass meadow also had a wonderful display of yellow from the birds foot trefoil and the conservation mix hedge in our winter interest border is starting to fill out as it begins to establish itself.

Cricklepit open garden event 

Bug hunting at Cricklepit MillOn Sunday 25th July, we held our annual open day attracting over 70 visitors to the garden with some regulars but for many it was their first visit. The garden and the hard work carried out by the volunteers was met with enthusiasm and very favourable comments which is always appreciated by the Garden Group. Some of the younger visitors did some bug hunting in our grass meadow and found among other things a six-spot burnet moth caterpillar, ladybird larvae, parasitic wasps and a thick legged flower beetle.

As you may be aware throughout winter and spring the garden group have been working on creating a wildlife pond and bog garden and after a lot of hard work and several adjustments it is finished. Not only does it look amazing it is already attracting aquatic wildlife such as water boatman, pond skaters, aquatic snails, common black diving beetle and a common blue damselfly.

Moorhen chicks

Moorhen and chicks by Neil BygraveOther highlights have been our resident pair of Moorhens successfully fledging four chicks, but it has not been such a happy outcome for our Mallard pair (affectionately known as Daphne and Donald by members of the Garden Group) despite all their efforts! We have also had sparrows nesting in the swift boxes, seven different varieties of butterflies with numerous common blues and the bug hotel is very busy with the occupants checking in and out.

Every year Margaret one of our volunteers and a keen botanist carries out a plant survey of the garden and so far this year she has counted 224 different native plant species, which we believe is a record. She is also hoping to add to this in the future by collecting information on any native insects and bees that the garden attracts.

Coming up 

Over the autumn we hope to start work on our next large project the creation of a woodland glade which will start with clearing and preparing the area then planting native woodland flowers, shrubs and trees. We are also hoping to introduce a Potagers Garden for next summer to reflect the history of the Mill and have been experimenting by growing a small amount of vegetables with the aim of expanding this to include companion planting, but more about that in the next blog.

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    Wednesday 12th July 2017
    by trustadmin

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Wednesday 12th July 2017
by trustadmin