Running a research project isn't all about the glamour you know. This is especially true with a project like Plants for Bugs which started life an incredible six years ago.
Well, that was when the beds were constructed at Wisley at any rate. In that time, climbers posts rot, deer damage fencing, timber edging boards become one with the soil and weeds encroach mercilessly. As we are between stages (sampling phase has finished but we anticipate further research in the future that will make use of the Plants for Bugs trials areas), we are in a race to complete lots of these operations this winter.
First off were the overgrown gateways. As time has gone on, the entrances were so becoming overgrown that is was increasingly difficult opening the wooden gates. To create a long term solution, volunteers Judi and Linda dug out the grass and soil from within the arc of the gates' swing, lined it with membrane and topped with spare bark. Should do for another few seasons!
Second was to start work on the rotting timber edging boards, particularly at the Deer's Farm site (Wisley Village) where the wood was a thinner grade. You can see just how much they had deteriorated from these pictures. For this work we've got in the services of an able contractor who can pre-drill the boards with the 'bug holes' (remember all the hassle we had the first time?!).
And as we're feeling in the mood for decay, I thought I'd finish with a curious toadstool in the lawn outside our plots.
Find out more about the Plants for Bugs project.
Discover Wild About Gardens - a joint initiative from the RHS and The Wildlife Trusts.