The weather during last two weeks has been quite odd… we have had mild sunny spring weather with temperatures in the miod teens and freezing (- 4C) wet weather with snow and deep frosts and today is blowing a gale. Mostly the weather has not been conducive to getting outside and so my preparations for my wildflower meadow has not progressed as much as I had hoped. Nevertheless I have made a little progress by digging another 40 sq m.
Quite a bit of my time has been spent in the woods where we have had around 8 ash trees taken down that were potential threats to neighbouring properties. Consequently, there is a mass of logs and branches to stack, clear and burn so quite a lot of effort has gone into this.
Its quite disturbing participating in the partial destruction of a woodland whose trees are over 150 years old but the ash trees are infected with a virus that causes the tree to die and they posed a threat to my neighbours and their homes. It’s hard to justify that I am helping nature by felling such mature trees but in this case I would argue its about creating a safer environment within which people can co-exist with nature without fear of being crushed by deseased trees.
The one benefit from this destructive act has been to let more light into this long neglected patch of woodland. It is now much lighter and I can see the potential for more wildflowers to grow if I can keep the brambles down. It reminds me that destruction and regeneration go hand in hand: when we change the environment new possibilities emerge.
The interesting feature of this area is that it is often waterlogged with surface water draining through it and forming natural, albeit transient ponds. There is a shallow drainage channel that meanders like a miniature river valley and the trees and ground are covered in dark green moss. At this time of the year with plenty of rain, the channel feeds a small boggy wetland area with a natural beauty that I wanted to preserve and help to enhance the biodiversity of this area.
I began clearing the logs and branches from tree felling. I used the logs to create edges to a new path and the smaller branches were burnt. Larger branches and logs were stacked to form woodpiles for insects and provide shelter for small animals. It doesn’t sound like very much but there was many hours of effort clearing, stacking, burning and path laying.
I read a blog post by Christian Wahl which seemed to make a lot of sense in the context of trying to regenerate this neglected patch of ancient woodland.
“What makes us human has evolved in intimate reciprocity with the environments our human ancestors found themselves in. The animals and plants we shared ecosystems with have honed our senses, shaped our abilities, and helped us to become who and what we are. Reconnecting with our innate love for life in all its forms lies at the heart of creating a more regenerative human presence on Earth.” The full post can be found here https://medium.com/age-of-awareness/the-passionate-love-of-life-and-of-all-that-is-alive-af18e142df9