Monday, 1 June 2015

Parish Life - June 2015

There was an amazing warm and dry period of weather during the middle of April, ideal growing conditions. When I came to cut the Churchyard in mid-April the whole area was a wonderland of flowers smiling up at me, and I was loath to cut anywhere at all.

I hope some of you were able to admire the large carpet of Violets under the Yew trees. These short stemmed flowers only have a brief moment in the spotlight, before the ranker species overtake them and this glorious site is hidden from view, a pity really. There are three species of Violet at St. Giles and I am sure they will continue to flourish.

However, our management plan has to be adhered to so some mowing must take place. Areas of Sward, Spring Meadows chosen for their floral diversity are left uncut enabling them to grow on until late June.

June is a special month at St. Giles, it is when we celebrate the Living Churchyard Project birthday, so on Saturday 13th June we will be having a bit of a do. There will be a variety of food to suit all tastes. Including a birthday cake. So come along and join us at St. Giles between 09.30 and l2.00. Work up an appetite with some practical work, then tuck into the tuck, everyone welcome.

Another flower that is abundant at St. Giles, as elsewhere this spring is the Primrose. My Mother always used to adorn the house with Primrose posies that brightened every room. Along with the Cowslips they provide an uplift to any day. Primroses and Cowslips readily hibridize, the False Oxlip being the result. There are also several of these plants in the Churchyard. There is a true Oxslip Primula elatior, which also hybridizes with all the above. So keying Oxslips out becomes difficult. To ensure you are looking at a True Oxslip can be challenging and they are infrequent.

Legend has it that St. Peter dropped the Keys to Heaven when he learnt that a duplicate set had been made. The first Cowslip sprang from where they fell. The nodding yellow flowers still have a County name of ‘bunch of keys’ We look forward to meeting you on the 13th.


GUIDED WALK

My guided walk for June takes place on Saturday 20th at 2.00 p.m. We will visit the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve Cloatley Meadows near Hankerton. This series of eight meadows provides a spectacular carpet of wild flowers, alive with bird and insect life.

All welcome, start from reserve carpark Grid Ref. ST983906

Contributed by Ivan Randall

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