Solidago seed head

It had been a quiet month on the wildlife plot until I decided to coppice the hazels!  There are about 8 or 9 large clumps behind the shed and behind Gorfin Hall. Normally if you have more than one hazel, you coppice them in turn so that you have stems or wands at various sizes and you can then cut them depending on what you want.  Never one to shirk, I decided to do them all in one go although when I say I did them, I have to give a massive thank you to Dave and his chainsaw as he cut and I dragged them away all over the wildlife plot and my plot.


There were several reasons for doing them all in one go and they were:

  1. Some of the wands were 5m+ in length and left much longer they would be very difficult to cut and manage.
  2. The clumps nearest to Gorfin Hall were starting to hang over their garden.
  3. The parts of the plot with the hazels were completely shaded and very, very dry.
  4. I would be able to access parts of the plot behind Gorfin Hall and clear out the plastic and junk that has been thrown up there
  5. In for a penny, in for a pound!
  6. The clumps can be coppiced in turn over the next 8 years so that the work is a bit more manageable.

So, what is the result?

The end of the plot with the hazels and cherry trees is now much more open, the sun can shine through and it has been transformed.  At the back, Devon Wildlife Trust have planted four sensory beds with plants for sound, touch, sight and taste and they were in complete shade all day long. I was thinking that I would have to move them to somewhere with a bit more light but now that the hedge has been trimmed and the hazels coppiced, there is plenty of light for them.  It has also opened up the part of the plot that is tucked away behind Gorfin Hall where a lot of tidying up needs to happen and I can now get in to do it although I am a little worried about what might live in there!

I am slowly tidying up everything that we cut down but it is a massive job and will probably take me all of December.

Much to my delight, the winter jasmine that is trained up the side of the shed has flowered and there have been several bees and wasps on it when it has been warmer and sunny. I realised when I looked more closely at the photo though that there is a bramble growing up behind it which I will deal with!

Other flowers on the plot are osteospermum, primrose, catkins. bergenia, viburnum and harebells. The berries and fruit are provided by the cotoneaster but all the sloes have gone. The main seed producers at the moment are the buddleias and the golden rod.