Greenkeeper's Update - March 2017

What a change the last two months has bought to the Green with spring now in full swing and temperatures of over 20 degrees C recorded recently. Crocuses, snowdrops, and winter aconites have given way to Daffodils and Snake’s Head Fritillaries. Many daffs have finished due to warm, dry conditions with notable exceptions in the more recently planted areas which feature late flowering varieties such as Pipe Major (see up near end Laurel Road and Beverly Brook). The meadows and pond margins are slowly becoming more colourful with irises surging upwards and marsh marigolds in bloom whilst cowslips, primrose, and dead-nettles keep the bees happy in the wildflower meadows. In fact all the meadow areas have been re-sown over 50-75% of their area to keep them diverse and make room for cornfield annuals and some new long-flowering species. A strip within the new fencing has also been cleared and sown with flowering plants typical of wet a places and the water’s edge.

If you have visited the Green recently you will see the programme of improvements is continuing with the path around the south-side of the pond currently being replaced and the adjacent pond viewing area to be made more wheelchair friendly .The aim is to be finished by early May before the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival (May 12-14) and Dementia- friendly Park launch on 15th May. Look out for the new wooden sculptures with a pond-life theme that will soon be installed as part of the latter programme , one of which will be a totem pole which will serve as a meeting point.

Animal life on the Green has been busy recently. 24 clumps of frog spawn were recorded suggesting an adult population of approx. 50 frogs- as low a number as I have recorded over the last decade. Newts have been observed and most birds are now nesting including the Swans who have chased off their three cygnets from last year- at least one got an assisted departure thanks to RSPCA/Swan Sanctuary. Look out for the pairs of mandarin ducks and greylag geese as well as the Grey wagtails that have recently been spotted on the island though they probably nest along Beverly Brook somewhere. The pond island was thinned out a little over the winter and the cuttings have been used to create a somewhat hidden duck shelter which is already occupied by coots and mallards Beverly Brook was dammed further upstream temporarily in March so I took advantage of the low water to give our stretch a good clean up. It will, of course, soon be playing host to the annual Easter Duck Race on Saturday April15th (Ducks Away 12noon). For further information on this event please contact the BCA or see the website.

Russell Greaves