We want your weeds

The BeeHolder, Spring 2013.

On 6th March the Gregynog Estate was declared Britain’s latest NNR (National Nature Reserve). The Estate has been a favourite for Botanical workshops for some years, the Fungus Forays in autumn being a special favourite with the public. Of more esoteric interest are the lichens which grow in perfusion throughout the Estate. Some are only found here and an obscure site in Southern Sweden. You may already know that Lichens are the latest area for the search for medicinally useful chemicals.

The clearances of Rhododendrons should be completed by the end of the summer. 90% will be removed leaving only the ornamentals to delight those who like a blast of colour in June. 45 acres of larch will be felled this year and we expect the area to be quickly colonised by wild flowers for the ultimate benefit of our bees. As part of the scheme to improve the attractiveness of the area around the apiary we are joining with the management of Gregynog to replant the area with a mixture of indigenous wild flowers and cultivated ornamentals. This is part of a Match Funding Scheme to bring improvements to the area such as Interpretation Boards, Direction Signs and a collection of climbers which will soften the rather austere security fencing round the apiary.

Any plants that we collect and plant in and around the Apiary can be counted towards the Match Funding Scheme. We have already collected 8 boxes of wild flowers and planted these. The time taken in the collection and replanting has been logged in and, of course, the nominal value of the plants is also counted. We are especially looking for such tall plants as cow parsley - wonderful for a large range of pollinators - plus Mulleins, Thistles and Teasels. Emerson (1803 -1882) wrote “What is a weed?.., a plants whose virtues have not yet been discovered”.

Of course it is illegal to dig up some plants such as Primrose from the countryside but it is OK to remove them when they self-seed in a choice flowerbed in your own garden. I count cowslips and ragged robin as a weed and will be relocating them to Gregynog rather than dumping them on the compost heap.

Please check with me about plants you could contribute. I can also email you a list of plants which the local Conservation officer for the Countryside Council of Wales have approved.

Turn your weeds into money for the apiary!

Tony Shaw