Monday, July 10, 2006

Coppicing clover

Today I coppiced the white clover, Trifolium repens, with my two-year old granddaughter as an assistant. The plant has been getting more and more rampant and was likely soon to cover the whole of Wbx and smother some of the smaller (and still very slow growing) seedlings. Several of these have only achieved a few millimetres across in many months of growth. I think I might now have eight or ten species overall, but in some cases it looks as though it could be years before I find out even though they are growing in pretty good conditions.

Anyway, I cut the whole clover plant back almost to the roots round the original seedling. I have no doubt the plant will quickly regrow again and I am making the harvested foliage into hay which I may put back on Wbx in due course.

In the last few days this clover has been producing flowers, which clinches its identity (see photo), but I am unrepentant about my trimming as I want to create as much variety and structure as I can in this small space.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Reticulated Slug and Long-legged Fly

On a hot afternoon (30°C) a reticulated slug, Deroceras reticulatum, emerged from under the clover leaves into the bright sunshine and made its way across the soil to Orion Rock. It flowed along this upside down, then disappeared beneath. This is clearly the animal (often described as a common garden pest) that has been browsing on the clover.

Another feature of Wbx at the moment is the tiny, green, iridescent flies of the Dolichopodid genus Chrysotus. These often rest on the top of leaves in the sunshine as they search for prey.