Sign of the times in Hoo Wood. 

Sunrise: 05. 22   Sunset: 08.44

Once a bed of beautiful English bluebells, this area is now dominated by invasive Himalayan balsam. I photographed a bluebell carpet here last year, but this year their number is very much reduced. 

Each year the balsam covers more ground, increasingly smothering the native flora, and I see fewer bluebells in the wood as a result. 

Sustained effort and labour are needed if Hoo Wood bluebells are to flourish again. Himalayan balsam should be pulled from the ground before it seeds; its roots easily relinquish their grip on the soil. Leaving the pulled balsam in a pile to rot seems to work well, but don’t leave them on trackways – they are a slip risk. I pull balsam when I’m in the wood, but all I am achieving is a slight slowing down of the spread; I feel I am doing my bit though. Thankfully, I am having more success on the marsh. 

Pulling Himalayan balsam can be pleasant, satisfying, and a worthwhile activity on a warm sunny day – it’s one of the easier tasks. If people walking through the wood spend five to ten minutes pulling balsam during each visit, native plants will flourish.

9 Comments on “Sign of the times in Hoo Wood. 

  1. Topical subject this, invasive plants! Jane over at had the subject “Plant Bullies” up in her “Unless” series. It’s interesting to read the response from different aspects and here in your post the encouragement to others to participate in a pleasant and satisfying task in helping to eradicate an invasive species. 🙂 Hope the Bluebells return.

    • Yes, Jane and I have discussed the invasive nature of yellow archangel in our respective home areas.

      I think everyone should consider helping in some way with local community and environmental issues. Any individual and communal effort and involvement can make a big difference.

      I have great respect for those who are prepared to make the effort to improve their local area, whether as an individual or from within an organised group.

  2. It is so sad to see native flora being overtaken by imported weeds. We have a similar problem here in New Zealand

    • It’s one of those things that, for the moment at least, we have to live with, Raewyn.

  3. Always so fascinating to watch the changes from one season or year to the next, and to see how dramatic they can sometimes be. Hope you have lots of volunteers supporting your efforts.

    • Thanks. I rarely have enough volunteers, apart from the small loyal band of Wilden Marshers, and occasionally the Roving Volunteers.

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