Diversity in the Park orchard: A newsletter.

First, a bit of history. For many years, a bowling green was maintained in the park, just adjacent to the Cowgate road entrance. From personal memory, about 20 years ago there were regular Sunday bowls matches but one day some youngsters decided to play a game of football on the green. The cost of bringing the grass back up to playing quality was probably the final straw, since the bowling club left and went elsewhere for their matches. It lay fallow for years, until the dredging spoil from work on the nearby Coston’s brook was taken there around five years ago and some landscaping was done, as well as providing a small concrete seat in the middle.

In 2019, a Pocket parks grant allowed the area to be redeveloped as an orchard garden. The tarmac path surrounding the green was lifted up and the area landscaped into the present form. So nature has not had too much time to re-establish itself. To find out the diversity that has now appeared, I asked Neil Anderson to have a quick look. His report on the area and its surroundings is below.

In addition in the ornamental flower beds I could see a Geranium cultivar, Verbena bonariensis, Stipa gigantea, Anementhele lessoniana, Nepeta & Knautia macedonica.

A few invertebrates in the recording area were Small White & Brown Argus butterflies, Yellow Shell (moth), Red-tailed, White-tailed & Buff-tailed Bumblebees, Honey Bees, Sphaerophoria sp hoverfly & larva & pupa of 7-spot Ladybird.

Away from here in the park saw my first Marbled White (east of railway) & Large Skippers (central belt) of the year & good numbers of Odonata on the wetlands.

So with some tender loving care contributed by some friends of the park, an increasingly diverse habitat has emerged from the old bowling green. If you visit, you will find the area where there are 24 fruit trees (all those that were planted 18 months ago have survived, thanks to copious watering during the hot summer months) has recovered from the original heavy spoil dredged from Coston’s brook and is looking more and more like an orchard meadow. The fruits are forming nicely!

I hope lots more friends come along and contribute to the area. Already this year, the four raised beds have had plantings from at least four different people. One of the beds (where the winter garlic were planted last year) was mostly left to its own devices this year and it has produced a wonderful show of poppies on at the moment. And the roses, planted late last year, are now in full bloom and putting on a great display.

Diversity survey of Perivale Park Orchard by Neil Anderson, 19/06/2021.
Meadow Buttercup Ranunculus acris Creeping Buttercup R. repens
Oriental Poppy Papaver orientale (planted) Field Poppy P. rhoeas (wild & cultivated forms)
Long-headed Poppy P.dubium California Poppy Eshscholzia californica
Nettle Urtica dioica Fat Hen Chenopodium album
Red Campion Silene dioica White Campion S. latifolia
Corncockle Agrostemma githago Dianthus sp (planted)
Lesser Stitchwort Stellaria graminea Chickweed S. media
Broad-leaved Dock Rumex obtusifolia Curled Dock R.crispus
Sorrel R. acetosa Common Mallow Malva sylvestris
Hedge Mustard Sisymbrium officinale Hoary Mustard Hirschfeldia incana
Shepherd’s Purse Capsella bursa-pastoris Common Vetch Vicia sativa
Hairy tare Ervilia hirsute Bird’s foot Trefoil Lotus conrniculatus
Goat’s Rue Galega officinalis Black Medick Medicago lupulina
White Clover Trifolium repens Red Clover Trifolium pratense
Lucerne Medicago sativa Sainfoin Onobrychis viciifolia
Flax Linum usitatissimum Dovesfoot Cranesbill Geranium mole
Small-flowered Cranesbill G. pusillum Hedgerow Cranesbill G. pyrenaicum
Hogweed Heracleum sphondylium Bishop’s Weed Amni majus (seed mix)
Wild Carrot Daucus carota Viper’s Bugloss Echium vulgare
Marjoram Origanum vulgare Clary Salvia sclarea
Salvia sylvestris cultivar Ribwort Plantago lanceolata
Teasel Dipsacus fullonum Ox-eye Daisy Leucanthemum vulgare
Catananche caerulea (planted) Scented Mayweed Matricaria recutita
Yarrow Achillea millefolium Achillea filipendulina (planted)
Groundsel Senecio vulgaris Nipplewort Lapsana communis
Bristly Ox-tongue Helminthotheca echioides Guernsey Fleabane Erigeron sumatrensis
Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris Common Knapweed Centaurea nigra
Greater Knapweed C. scabiosa Creeping Thistle Cirsium arvense
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale agg Beaked Hawksbeard Crepis vesicaria
Common Cat’s-ear Hypochaeris radicata Smooth Sow-thistle Sonchus oleraceus
Fox Tail Lily Eremurus cv Wall Barley Hordeum murinum
Rye Grass Lolium perenne Barren Brome Anisantha sterilis
Meadow Foxtail Phleum pratense Smooth Meadow Grass Poa pratensis
Rough Meadow Grass P. trivialis Crested Dog’stail Cynosurus cristatus
False Oat Grass Arrhenatherum elatius Yellow Oat Grass Trisetum flavescens
Cocksfoot Dactylis glomerata

We hope to have the area strimmed by Matt and his colleagues in the next day or so to really tidy it up. So if you have not come this way recently, do go visit and see if you might even add to Neil’s observations above! Let us know!!

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