Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sallow bronze

The window box nature reserve is just about at its best with all plants looking healthy and bright.  It has never had fertiliser, but everything seems full of vigour.


The sallows that were coppiced, as usual, last autumn are now sprouting well and the leaves on the tips of the shoots are flushed bronze and often backed with white down.


Maybe the brown is due to tannins and discourages insect attack on the new young shoots.  The white down might have to same effect.  Both will disappear quite quickly leaving the leaves plain green.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The year’s first flower

A rather fine plant of herb-robert (Geranium robertianum) has produced the first flower of the year in WBX.  It is the normal pink form although many plants of this species in or garden have white flowers

2014-04-22 17.51.25

Overall, the box is doing very well and, as can be seen in the picture below, most plants are growing vigorously and well.  All the more remarkable as WBX has had no applications of fertiliser during the life of the project.  Perhaps the nitrogen fixing properties of the clover roots may be having an effect.

2014-04-22 17.55.31.

As I arrived today there was a robin perching on the box.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mystery shoot

A fat (but tiny) red shoot has emerged from a mossy crevice on top of the sallow log.  It is not a seedling but, at present, I cannot imagine what it is.  A bramble maybe?  But there aren’t any growing in the window box

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Anyway, something to watch over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Minim returns

The very small, minim version of the black garden ant (Lasius niger) have reappeared in some quantity on the uncoppiced sallow whip.  There are no aphids I can find and I think they are extracting honeydew or sap from the new leaves.  They seem much slower than they do later in the season and last year I did not seem the until early May.

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I notice in the photo above that something has taken a chunk out of the leaf edge.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

First insect record of the year

2014-04-15 WBX cuckoo spit

At the back of WBX nestling in the fork of a herb robert plant (Geranium robertianum) about to come into flower was the characteristic froth of a cuckoo spit insect.  Not a new record, but always good to welcome old friends.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A new season begins

Now the warmer April weather is slowly arriving, life in WBX is resurgent after a very wet, but mild, winter.  The shot below, taken from overhead, shows how well the white clover is doing and, so far as I can tell, it has all arisen from a seedling that appeared on bare soil 8 years ago a few months after this project was started.

2014-04-13 10.44.58

The central sallow log still seems pretty solid despite its coating of moss and tufts of rush, and the tutsan and herb-2014-04-11 11.38.01robert on the right, and the hairy tare centre left are all doing well.

The sallow stools are beginning to sprout and the whip that I did not coppice last autumn is now well in leaf.  Hopefully it will attract some early caterpillars.