As the temperatures gradually rise and the ground warms we are starting to see signs of germination in the trial regeneration areas.
Gillieshill has a well established understorey of the invasive rhododendron ponticum (which is the purple flowering variety). As with many invasive species this variety dominates by taking over and suppressing all other fauna. We are blessed with many rare and non-invasive rhododendron varieties too. All these were collected from around the world and used a symbol of affluence in the times when these gardens were stocked.
After over 80 years of uncontrolled growth in many areas the ponticum has become dominant and restricts bio-diversity, it increases shade too as a method of dominance which affects fauna too. At the former Bearside Quarry (and blue bell wood) and Castle Pond we’ve established trial areas of clearance, habitat creation, and sowing with native species. We are starting to see the sowing, conducted in March, germinating in the last few weeks. Through the summer months, and with a tiny wee bit more rain we should see these areas green up.
The trial areas have been sown with two seed mixes (Woodland Meadow and Pond Edge Wild Flowers) and also some nursery grown native species of fox glove and wild strawberry. We also have some blind areas to see if the rhododendron has killed off the historical seed bank built up in the ground.
Please be careful where you tread in these areas and stick to the paths. Lovely to see the bluebells emerging and flowering too.
Signs are emerging;
Too early to tell which species these are from the Woodland Meadow Mix:
Blog post written up Angus MacGregor