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BS: Hedgerows and Verges

11 Aug 17 - 05:52 AM (#3870973)
Subject: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

A couple of weeks ago I extolled the beauties of hedgerows and verges on the lanes in the west coast of Ireland. Wild plants and shrubs were ablaze in full colour with an intoxicating mixture of flowers of all hues.

I was somewhat surprised when another poster said:

"Roll On the 31st August when the flail cutters can come out in all their glory and tame the hedgerows again. This will make driving along narrow country roads marginally safer. Nice the nesting birds take precedence over the safety of humans"

Am I alone in taking delight in the glories of hedgerows full of fuschia, montbretia, meadowsweet, hawkweed, vetch etc etc


11 Aug 17 - 06:12 AM (#3870975)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Iains

http://www.independent.ie/life/motoring/car-news/rsa-expert-reporting-overgrown-hedges-and-verges-to-the-local-council-saves-liv


11 Aug 17 - 06:15 AM (#3870976)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

Iains, unfortunately that comes up as 404 Page Not Found.


11 Aug 17 - 06:21 AM (#3870978)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Iains

Raggytash. Here is the article:
RSA expert: Reporting overgrown hedges and verges to the local council saves lives
* Our RSA expert highlights the need to trim hedges and verges
Overgrown hedges can cause problems at this time of year.
1
Overgrown hedges can cause problems at this time of year.

August 26 2015 2:30 AM         
            

Overgrown hedges and road-side verges pose problems this time of year.

That is especially the case on our smaller rural roads.

We at the Road Safety Authority are starting to get complaints from the public about the difficulties untrimmed verges and overgrown hedges are posing for pedestrians and cyclists.

We've also received a formal request from the Roads and Transportation Strategic Policy Committee at Cork County Council, seeking our help on the issue.

Section 70 of the Roads Act 1993 places responsibility for the maintenance of roadside hedges on the owners/occupiers of the adjoining lands.

The responsibility for the maintenance of roadside verges rests with the local authority.

But the season when this is permitted under the Wildlife Act is between the start of September and the end of February the following year.

The only exception is if there are road safety implications.

Generally, given the number of roads and funding issues, cutting verges has a low priority compared with other road maintenance elements.

And where work is carried out, priority is given to sight-lines at junctions or obstructions to road signs, for example.

This year Cork County Council is planning to step up its awareness campaign at the start of September to remind landowners of their hedge cutting responsibilities.

This will include placing ads in local newspapers, on local radio and on the Council's website.

We always say road safety is a shared responsibility, that if left up to state agencies alone, our road safety strategy will fail.

We will only make our roads a safer place if we all step up to the mark and take personal responsibility.

In this case, councils have an obligation to ensure that the road-side verge is maintained.

Equally, landowners and anyone living along the road side has a responsibility to check that hedges or trees on their property are not causing a hazard.

A vigilant public can also play a role here too: by reporting overgrowth to your local council.

Each local authority has powers to require landowners to take action where a tree, shrub, hedge or other vegetation is a potential hazard.

But it's not all stick.

There is a carrot approach too.

Cork County Council is proposing to pilot a community hedge-cutting grant scheme in one area similar to one currently operated by Clare County Council.

That scheme, in operation since 2013, encourages a joint approach with communities and groups of local residents and landowners, for cutting hedges and trees which need attention.

The grant will contribute ?25 per km, which equates to about 40pc of the cost.


11 Aug 17 - 06:41 AM (#3870982)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

That would seem to be a reasoned response, the two pertinent lines being:

"But the season when this is permitted under the Wildlife Act is between the start of September and the end of February the following year"

And

"The only exception is if there are road safety implications."

Thus if a particular portion of hedgerows creates a danger it can be trimmed, we don't need to destroy vast tracts of verge and hedgerow.

But as I said in another thread, we could always drive slower.


11 Aug 17 - 06:49 AM (#3870983)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Iains

Irish country roads present a professional rally driver with a challenge if they wish to drive fast!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xu6PF_D9uyY


11 Aug 17 - 06:57 AM (#3870984)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

Hedge-cutting at appropriate times of the year is beneficial to wildlife. Hedges are not natural habitats but they are excellent refuges for many species that are deprived of habitats that have become a lot rarer, such as clearings and wood margins, and they make excellent wildlife corridors. Sensitively done, hedge management maintains species diversity. I don't regard the brutal use of flailing to be sensitive hedge management. I hate to see a hedge full of torn branches. Verges can be mowed for just a couple of feet at the road's edge, leaving the taller herbs further back to flourish and encouraging lower-growing species at the road edge. That's good management for diversity. If the plants are getting in way of traffic safety, or if roadsides are insensitively managed, then that's a result of poor management, ignorance or cost-cutting and that's where your annoyance should be directed. Here in Cornwall we have thousands of miles of hedges and narrow country lanes but I'm rarely aware of traffic hazards caused by overgrowth. I do see a lot of flailing, though, and some unnecessary mowing yards back from the road edge. I was infuriated when a lovely bank of southern marsh orchids in full bloom was demolished by an ignoramus with a tractor mower. I suppose the golden age was when many more people lived in the country and we had our hedges properly laid by skilled people. Never to return, eh? Anyway, slow down and enjoy the flowers and insects. Wind your window down and listen to the birdsong. I was forced to slow down for a whole hour yesterday afternoon, moving at less than walking pace through the southbound roadworks at the M6/M5 junction. It was a very nice day and it was amazing what could be seen growing on the banks and the central reservation. I put on some Woody Guthrie and consumed two boxes of TicTacs. It wasn't all bad.


11 Aug 17 - 07:27 AM (#3870986)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Iains

Are you suggesting a flail mower should not be used and we go back to a bygone age of labour intensive hedge laying?


11 Aug 17 - 07:34 AM (#3870987)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

Iains, I'm not sure what point you are trying to make with references to Motor Rallying, I am not averse to rallying, it does not really float my boat but neither do many other sports.

With reference to hedge laying a return to tradition methods of management would be welcome but the financial constraints of such will ensure it is very unlikely to happen.


11 Aug 17 - 08:20 AM (#3870991)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Jon Freeman

It's the flailers on the roads round here. As for road safety, I can think of a few road junctions onto the A140 and A149 that become blind when the hedges are not cut back. We dislike coming onto the A149 from Thorpe Market. Fortunately that junction is on a 30mph section of the main road but there are times when one has to edge out a long way onto the main road before seeing clearly both ways to turn right.

At the moment, I'm wishing the farm/landowner could be persuaded to take a flailer down the track round the back here and cut a section of what I guess started life as a hedge back. They did clear a lot as far as the septic tank back last year (it had spread out so far that the tractor that sometimes comes down to empty it, had to have a wheel on the (??barley last year???) field but stopped there.

It might sound crazy as I do spend time in the lower part of this area but I don't seem to notice what happens in front of my own eyes. It was only after I looked at some photos taken in 2003 (relatively early days for me here but I'd think reflecting how things would have been after a brother and my mother originally cleared her patch and a time when the farm at least used to have a passing interest in the barn). I'd not noticed how far things have spread or even that it is impossible to open the right sliding barn door for a mix of mostly brambles and blackthorn or tt the track ad moved prgessively closer to the field.

I've completed my small task for now on the track, ie. ensuring the pickup which brings logs here has a route through ? it really did get overgrown this year, and I found another thing ? one I'd not noticed happen before. Part of the track was blocked by a wall of what I think is creeping thistle and there is a bit of that in other areas now. I don't know but is it possible that having a new soak-away or the tank last year could have disturbed and stimulated something? Not sure what (probably the farm ? it's off our rented bit) should be doing about it. I read it is classed as an "injurious weed" and its root system sounds quite, shall I say, robust.

Anyway, back to another thought I sometimes have and may have expressed before? Even if we had the resources to rent and cut back further, eg. opening up a second set of pigsties, I don't think we'd take it. We've got our own patch that my mother, in particular loves. The farm either side of the split and track have 90 acres on which to grow crops. It's good that wildlife also gets its untouched allocation.


11 Aug 17 - 08:23 AM (#3870992)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Iains

With reference to hedge laying a return to tradition methods of management would be welcome...

In the ideal world I could probably agree, but that is not the reality.
Modern farming recognises the merits of conservation but it is also required to make a profit. It would be nice to go back to the days of a little grey fergie with a fingerbar mower and 2 furrow plough but it is not likely to happen. GLAS payments require new hedging for some farmers yet others have their single farm payment penalised for allowing hedge encroachment into fields. Planning permission is often required to grub up hedges, remove drystone walls, reclaim land or drain it. On some farms I know of the internal farm tracks were fine in the days of a donkey and cart but now the tyres on tractors get ripped by quartz in the drystone walls and the tracks are not wide enough for modern kit to travel along them. Modern farming dictates what has to be done and legislation keeps a tight rein on practises.
At the end of the day it is a stark choice- Do you want to admire a view or eat. Both sides can only compromise so far.


11 Aug 17 - 08:44 AM (#3870995)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

Well we are stuck with flailing, though there are alternatives such as shaping saws which leave a much tidier result. Flails are often not sharpened enough, or inappropriately used on overgrown hedges in a single pass, hence the rippped branches can be far worse then they need to be. But there's a lot to consider. It's a lousy farmer who needs to cut all his hedges at once. There's no need to cut hedges every year. Also, it's possible to cut just the one side of a hedge that's growing over roads or lanes. A variety of hedge heights and shapes is good for diversity. Hedges that simply divide fields don't need the same close attention as hedges along roads. Young trees can be left uncut. It's great to see laid hedges but we're never going to go back to that. We should require landowners to show imagination in preserving a diversity of hedges, not just treat the land like a factory floor (like one farmer near us who has the cheek to run a "wildlife centre" on his extremely sterile farm - you can walk across his land for a quarter of an hour through huge, unhedged fields of oilseed rape and you won't see a weed or a butterfly or hear a bird singing).


11 Aug 17 - 08:59 AM (#3870996)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

I want to admire a view and eat. But keep it in proportion. Agriculture in the UK contributes just 0.6% of our GDP. You're not going to stop eating any time soon. Agriculture has a huge role to play in maintaining biodiversity in a pleasant environment and has often not carried out that role very well. Of course, it has to be paid for. Looking after hedges better is a part of that discussion.


11 Aug 17 - 09:05 AM (#3870997)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

I was so intrigued by the variety of plants in the verges, most of which I did not know, that I bought a couple of books of wild flowers in order that I could learn something of them. Even with the books there were flowers that we not included. A steep learning curve beckons!!


11 Aug 17 - 09:22 AM (#3871000)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Jon Freeman

I maybe shouldn't admit it Raggy but I'm pretty poor. I got stumped on yarrow in my strimming the other day... Mum is much better and instantly gave me the name and also a vetch I brought in... But her mother by local reputation was the one. She was supposed to have names (I guess in some cases local) of "everything" that grew in her Shropshire borders village and where to find them... When not busy as postmistress, it sounds like it was a big part of her life that she grew up with.


11 Aug 17 - 09:27 AM (#3871002)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Iains

Agriculture in the UK contributes just 0.6% of our GDP. But nearly 50% of our food. It helps to keep the correct perspective.


11 Aug 17 - 09:37 AM (#3871005)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

It's not that I'm poor John, my knowledge is almost not existent, however that means I have hours of enjoyment in front of me.

Some I know like the Gentian, Primrose and Ox Eye Daisy but the area where we are in Ireland is noted for it's orchids, like the Common Spotted Orchid and the Early Purple Orchid or a new one to me (like many others) The Military Orchid, to say naught of the myriad of other flowers.


11 Aug 17 - 09:42 AM (#3871006)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Iains

https://www.verdict.co.uk/british-suppliers-wanted-uk-doesnt-produce-enough-home-grown-food/


11 Aug 17 - 09:48 AM (#3871008)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

However fruit and veg are not, normally, grown on the verges or hedgerows. (Blackberry's sloe's hips excepted)


11 Aug 17 - 09:59 AM (#3871011)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Jon Freeman

I'd need to read up (did once read a short book but memory's fading) but I believe hedges used to be rather more productive than that and that foraging was once important? Hazel is another I can think of once picking. Not sure if it was by design but you can find crab apple trees in some of the hedges round here.


11 Aug 17 - 10:13 AM (#3871012)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Iains

Raggytash walnuts, hazelnuts, crab apples, cherry, bilberry,edible fungi....to name but a few. But vehicle emissions and plant take up may put some off foraging. Hedgerows have also been called the long acre when it comes to grazing, especially either side of some of the old drove roads. Uncommon now but I have seen quite a few traveller's horses tethered on the roadside and the odd householder's goat. (where I am now there are feral goats-The story goes that they graze the more inaccessible ledges and the suicidal sheep have to find other avenues of escape)


11 Aug 17 - 10:27 AM (#3871016)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

Well walnut trees tend to grow to a massive size, not the sort I would associate with a hedgerow, hazelnuts, crab apples, cherry the same, although I wouldn't rule it out entirely. Bilberrys tend to grow on moorland and edible fungi I don't touch as I don't know which are edible. Don't they tend to grow in woodland though.

I tend not to forage by busy roads, too many headcases in rally cars for starters, but quiet byroads and lanes are rich pickings


11 Aug 17 - 10:38 AM (#3871018)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Jon Freeman

Agree with couple of your thoughts in a sense, Raggy but that is likely down to my own lack of knowledge. I'd not say impossible but I've only known walnut as a very big tree and very early childhood memory would point me to say the Stiperstones type area of Shropshire for bilberries.


11 Aug 17 - 10:52 AM (#3871022)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

You will not find walnut trees in hedges. You may find something edible in the fungus department at the bottom of a hedge, but all the ones I eat grow in open grassy places, except perhaps for shaggy inkcaps which grow on my compost heap. Bilberries, moorland. They sometimes grow on the stone boundaries on Dartmoor. You'd be lucky to get a decent cherry to eat. The birds generally scoff the lot before they're properly ripe. A stone hedge near us harbours wild parsley, every bit as good as cultivated. You have to be careful, though, as hemlock grows close by and the leaves out of context aren't that different!


11 Aug 17 - 11:01 AM (#3871025)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

Raggytash, the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, of which I'm a member, reports that the military orchid is absent from Ireland.


11 Aug 17 - 11:02 AM (#3871026)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Iains

I have seen walnut growing by a road in monmouthshire and whinberries on top of drystone walls in the same county. Hedgerows frequently have trees left to grow to maturity.Not too sure about most fungi I have seen stinking hellebore in hedgerows and mushrooms in the verge. I would agree quiet byways are the places to go hunting.
anyway for your sojourn in Ireland:

www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/foodanddrink/darinaallen/edible-wild-plants-found-along-the-roadside-are-added-to-all-the-following-recipes-399485.html


11 Aug 17 - 11:14 AM (#3871027)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

Stinking hellebore is a flowering plant.


11 Aug 17 - 11:21 AM (#3871028)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Jon Freeman

Maybe the thing that sometimes grows in our small "wood garden" bit at the front was meant - stinkhorn?


11 Aug 17 - 11:22 AM (#3871029)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Iains

As I said not too sure about fungi or plants come to that. I meant Phallus impudicus.


11 Aug 17 - 12:31 PM (#3871035)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

That's a stinker all right. But everything has its place. Even slugs and mosquitoes.

If you find a giant puffball that hasn't yet gone powdery in the middle, slice it into half-inch thick slices. Dip each slice in beaten egg then well-seasoned breadcrumbs, then fry in butter for a few minutes. Eat with grilled or fried kippers. Nirvana. Not boil-in-bag kippers. They are are the flabby, sloppy spawn of the devil.

If the puffball has gone over and is full of powder, marvel in the fact that there are as many spores in your puffball as there are people on earth. It's no longer nice to eat, though. My favourite fungus is horse mushrooms. Occasionally, just one specimen is enough for two. Just make sure that it isn't a yellow stainer unless you like bellyaches. When you scratch the stalk with your nail you get a gorgeous aniseed smell. Yellow stainers on the other hand go yellow and smell inky. Another favourite of mine is the parasol. It's at its best when the cap is about half-open. After that the cap goes too dry and you may be faced with more maggot than mushroom. Fry in butter. If you find a patch of field mushrooms, rejoice, but don't just pick them and stash them in bags. They need to be transported all the right way up, otherwise soil and grit will get into the gills and add a detestable crunch. Plenty more!


11 Aug 17 - 01:32 PM (#3871045)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

Steve, please let the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland know I've seen them !!


11 Aug 17 - 01:38 PM (#3871046)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Jon Freeman

I'd never have the nerve to try some of the stuff you do Steve, and yep am aware it's not just toadstools where mistakes can be made; I'd not know your wild parsley from its deadly relatives...

Have often wanted to try a real horse mushroom (which I sort of gather is like a field mushroom plus, on flavour as well as size)and mum has tales of her and her mum picking and using them. Don't know where they grow round here.


11 Aug 17 - 01:57 PM (#3871049)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

I've double-checked and I can't find any military orchid records for Ireland, Raggytash. It's an extremely rare species in Britain too; in fact, it was once thought to be extinct.


11 Aug 17 - 02:12 PM (#3871052)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

I'll take a photograph .................. next year!!


11 Aug 17 - 02:33 PM (#3871055)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

PS I don't claim, as you know, to be an expert on such matters !!


11 Aug 17 - 02:53 PM (#3871058)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Iains

The ghost orchid must be it's cousin!


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/07/search-for-rare-british-ghost-orchid/


11 Aug 17 - 02:58 PM (#3871060)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

I MAY be still kicking around in 20 years ........... conversely I might have 20 minutes!!


11 Aug 17 - 05:33 PM (#3871077)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

Iains, sorry to say your link at 11.02 to the Irish Examiner failed to come up. Pity because it sounded interesting.


11 Aug 17 - 05:51 PM (#3871078)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Jeri

I fixed his link. It was probably long enough to confuse the blickifier.


11 Aug 17 - 06:01 PM (#3871081)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

Hi Jeri, just tried Iains 11.02 link again to no avail. Thanks anyway, I'll try tomorrow on the papers own website.
Try it again. I fixed my fix.


11 Aug 17 - 06:24 PM (#3871087)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

The ghost orchid we have in England, and maybe Wales, is incredibly elusive. It's often gone for years without being found at all. I have a feeling that 99.9% of its life is spent happily underground and that it's not quite as rare as reputed. It's very hard to spot even when it pops its head above ground in leaf litter as it's a pallid little thing with no green parts and vestigial leaves only. It has complex relationships with a number of fungal myceliums and is best regarded as a sort of epiparasite. Raggytash's military orchid is one of the rarest UK plants with two locations only. The rarest orchid is the lady's slipper (Cypripedium calceolus) which now grows in one location only in the Yorkshire Dales. A hundred years ago it had over a hundred locations but has suffered from the depredations of collectors. A waste of time as the plant won't transplant. It's location is a badly-kept secret but we won't ever say. 😉 Another very rare oop-north orchid is the coralroot orchid. It has a location in the Dales that I would disclose only at the point of a gun. That's its southernmost outpost in Britain but it does have a couple more further north in England and a few in Scotland.


11 Aug 17 - 06:36 PM (#3871090)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

I like that link. Anyone who can put a romantic patina on the prosaic writings of scientists gets my vote!


11 Aug 17 - 07:46 PM (#3871096)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

Our coralroot is Corallorrhiza trifida. I think the US has other species.


12 Aug 17 - 04:51 AM (#3871128)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: JHW

A wonderful (sown) display of mixed wild flowers again on the roundabout just west of Sedgefield, Co.Durham. Wild flowers do though need to be managed, cut down and taken away or the ground enriches and you just get nettles.
As for drivers tearassing round country lanes I'd say that has definitely got worse. Any time I use a single track road I find oncoming drivers ignoring a pull-in they could easily use and expecting me somehow magically to levitate out of the way. I wouldn't recommend cutting back hedges to encourage them.


12 Aug 17 - 05:19 AM (#3871131)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

I think I'll try the Gin from Iains link !!


12 Aug 17 - 05:26 AM (#3871132)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Iains

Raggytash. Don't forget to forage for rose hips as well, in case of a hangover.

http://www.theotherandyhamilton.com/2012/12/11/natural-hangover-cures/


12 Aug 17 - 05:55 AM (#3871140)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Dave the Gnome

There is a lovely short walk ( < 3 miles) from our front door which takes me through a woodland with a stream running though, across open fields and then down a very quite lane with hedgerows on both sides. I am sure there are rich pickings to be had all along but sadly I only ever pick the blackberries from the hedgerows. I must expand my knowledge! Oh - I did pick some bilberries on the moorland above Haworth last week though. There are plenty on the hills immediately above us as well. I am told the best way to harvest them is with what we used to call an 'Afro comb'

Any advice on good reference books for foraging would be appreciated.

DtG


12 Aug 17 - 06:15 AM (#3871142)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

The car park of the Co-op in town is surrounded by rose bushes which produce a copious amount of Rose Hips. I could probably supply the entire town with Rose Hip Syrup each year !


12 Aug 17 - 07:13 AM (#3871155)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Iains

D the G
https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=foraging


12 Aug 17 - 07:22 AM (#3871157)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Dave the Gnome

Aye - I have seen those,Iains. It was the very plethora of them that led me to ask the question. Are there any in particular that you have used? Anyone?

DtG


12 Aug 17 - 08:09 AM (#3871174)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Iains

I have only limited experience of foraging. Richard Mabey is one source I have used and the SAS survival guide. I find Tesco far easier to negotiate, though not on a friday evening or saturday!


12 Aug 17 - 08:16 AM (#3871178)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Dave the Gnome

:-) Try Morrisons instead (I have to say that)

I'll have a look at Mabey. SAS sounds a bit extreme for me!

Thanks

DtG


12 Aug 17 - 09:00 AM (#3871182)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

Weeds can be good. Chickweed is a very tasty addition to a salad. You can eat daisies too. Dandelions make excellent wine and don't make you pee the bed. The best wine I ever made was made from rosehips. You have to be very careful not to include any of those stiff little hairs in the finished product as they'll make you cough. Pansy and wallflower petals make a nice splash of colour on a green salad. Sorrel adds a lovely tang to a dressing but make sure it's the common sorrel, not sheep's sorrel which has a coarser flavour. Both young sorrel leaves and young nettle tops make lovely light spring soups. Ramsons leaves (wild garlic) are just as good as regular garlic. If you have spare gin you can make a superb liqueur from young beech leaves. Dahlia tubers are edible, as are fuchsia berries. Ivyleaved toadflax was once a popular salad ingredient, though I find it a bit too spicy. Scurvy grass will stop you getting scurvy but pick it at the seaside, not from motorway central reservations.


12 Aug 17 - 09:35 AM (#3871186)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

I forgot to mention lamb's lettuce. It grows in lots of places round here, and I'd rather have it in salads than any tasteless shop lettuce any day. The old boy who cooked all of the superb fine-dining dishes in our Lake Como abode in June used it a lot. A few years ago I sowed wild rocket in the garden and since then it pops up as a "weed" wherever it likes and we have a year-round supply. Chives also never needs planting. There's always a clump of it somewhere.

I know you can eat hogweed, Alexanders, hedge garlic and nasturtium leaves but I find them a bit too spicy and assertive. There are seasidey things around here such as samphire (the cliff one) which I find too sharp, though the Tudor dynasty went mad for it, and that salt-marsh samphire that's always pretentiously served with fish. I find it pointlessly stringy, but whatever stirs yer loins... I've never really got into seaweeds but I've tried some sea lettuce and I found it too tough. You could get all the protein you need round here by eating the abundant mussels.


12 Aug 17 - 09:44 AM (#3871188)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Jon Freeman

Hm wines. My mother (actaully pretty near a teetotaller) used to make a few. One I used to particularly like (and we had a massive blanket of these that kept expanding when we were in N Wales last time) was cowslip. The "inedible" plum tree there also had fruit that could be turned into a reasonable wine.

Other drinks:

Masses of sloes here but if I pick them, it's to give them away. I love sloe gin but can do without that temptation.

One my mother makes and both parents love from pickings round the back is elderflower cordial.


12 Aug 17 - 09:49 AM (#3871190)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

Seaweed .............. a few years ago on a sojourn to Ireland I bought my good lady a seaweed bath which she used when back in the UK. She LOVED it, said it made her skin feel beautiful .......... it took me half an hour to clean the bath though !!


12 Aug 17 - 10:49 AM (#3871194)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Dave the Gnome

Ooooh - You reminded me. Mrs G does make a lovely elder flower cordial. Uses it in all sorts of things including a compote of our home grown rhubarb and store bought gooseberries. The store was the butchers but we do live in an odd place. One of the daughters picked the elder flowers for us while we were out and when we came in we were convinced that one of the cats had peed somewhere. Glad that smell goes when it is boiled :-) She also tried a cordial of meadowsweet but that never lost the smell of Germolene so it did not go down too well.

DtG


12 Aug 17 - 11:15 AM (#3871198)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Jon Freeman

I'm not sure what else mum has tried to make on the "dilute to taste" line, Dave. Her other with long standing popularity here comes from fruit we planted rather than things that were just there. That's a blackcurrant one which seems to keep more of a "just picked" taste/or maybe smell that Ribena to me seems to loose. They are not made every year but production of this and the elderflower one are done in batches. Between those and our own apple juice we can have the bottom half of small chest freezer in the porch pretty well stocked up with soft drinks...


12 Aug 17 - 08:30 PM (#3871280)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

I've been stupid with my apple trees. I've let them go all biennial on me. There'll be a great crop this year and I'll be giving groaning bag-for-life's-full of them away to all and sundry. Next year I'll be lucky if I can sink my teeth into any at all... My Discovery apples are cropping well already and they are utterly delicious. Bloody blackbirds are scoffing my autumn-fruiting raspberries and shitting red birdshit all over my garden furniture. They'll soon move on, and I do love me blackbirds to bits...


13 Aug 17 - 06:23 AM (#3871339)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Jon Freeman

I'd not heard of apples doing that but fond a little here

Our fruit trees (also plums and pears) do have good and bad years but I've not noticed a pattern that well defined. Our most consistent cropper is probably the Bramley. Our gages have more off years then on...


13 Aug 17 - 06:55 AM (#3871343)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

My Bramley seems to buck the trend too. Scabby old thing!


13 Aug 17 - 07:43 AM (#3871351)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Jon Freeman

Ours is a pretty young tree. We did make a big mistake of a different type with this one. It was a very heavy cropper from day one and we failed to thin the fruit it couldn't support. It lists a bit and we can have props under some branches. Maybe one day, it will fall over ? I don't know? All I do know is that while it provides us with a consistent (actually far in excess) crop (much of what we want cooked and frozen for pies, crumbles etc. throughout the year), it has a place here.


14 Aug 17 - 02:41 AM (#3871521)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

Some friends I know in Ireland have put a small selection of photographs of wild flowers, taken locally, on their facebook page.

Wild Flowers, Connemara


14 Aug 17 - 06:16 AM (#3871553)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Mr Red

Flora is like fashion.

It pays little heed to human functionality.

The other day I saw a pimped-up Audi come round a roundabout (indicator, what indicator?) noticeably faster than the scores before him. A motor-caravan decided to cross the path he had not yet defined and rather than slow down in good time he preferred to sound his horn.

Because there was vegetation (bushes etc) in the roundabout, neither was fully aware of the others' existence & then intentions.

The moral - prettiness and visibility are in conflict at such locations. And drivers of expensive cars are far less likely to be considerate. (Stamford Uni did the research BTW).


14 Aug 17 - 06:55 AM (#3871561)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

It's strange Mr Red I used to live on a very busy road choked with slow moving traffic, getting out in a morning was always difficult until I learned to edge out in front of expensive new cars.

Two reasons 1. the chances were that the brakes were in good condition and 2. the drivers didn't want their pride and joy dented.

Worked a treat !!


15 Aug 17 - 06:23 AM (#3871704)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Iains

Has anyone been blackberrying yet? I picked my first kilo an hour ago. They all seem very puny this year.


15 Aug 17 - 07:07 AM (#3871709)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

Brambles are not a single species. Rubus fruticosus agg. reproduces by apomixis and/or sexually and is prone to doubling up its chromosome count, so in the UK it's likely that there are upward of 400 microspecies. In my experience, fruit flavour is just as variable. If you see a likely thicket, taste a couple before you decide whether the rest are flavoursome enough to be worth collecting. It's a bit early yet and the summer has been a bit disappointing in recent weeks, just when warm sunshine is needed to fatten and sweeten up those drupelets. If you have a large amount of space, plant a variety called Himalayan Giant. You could train it along twenty or thirty feet of wire. You'll get a massive crop of fruit that are as big as a 50p and which taste better than any wild fruit. A gorgeous blend of sweetness and brambliness. When you're picking, it helps to wear armour.


15 Aug 17 - 07:18 AM (#3871712)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

They are certainly ready to pick up here, very early in fact.


15 Aug 17 - 08:33 AM (#3871730)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Thompson

I'd like to grow a mulberry tree, but I'm not sure whether the roots are deep and hungry for foundations like certain other trees. Tasted the fruit from a tree in a London park recently - it was delicious.

The authorities in Ireland - both the farming advisors and the over-car-friendly advisors on streets and roads, seem determined to wipe out hedges.

There's a huge row going on here at the moment over the selling of the right to harvest seaweed to a massive foreign company; meanwhile, studies have shown that adding a tiny amount of seaweed to cattle feed stops the methane production that threatened the dairy industry (and the environment).


15 Aug 17 - 09:53 AM (#3871749)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Iains

Bit of a jump from hedges!
http://bantrybaykelpforest.com/

Not too much publicity given to this. It is a controversial subject around the bay.


http://www.southernstar.ie/news/roundup/articles/2017/06/26/4142092-we-would-not-have-invested-so-much-just-to-destroy-the-resou


15 Aug 17 - 10:07 AM (#3871752)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

Then there's calcified seaweed, a coral-like substance that has to be dredged from the shallow sea bed. The dredging is very destructive to the sea-floor part of the marine ecosystem, but, well, it's a damn good fertiliser and you can call it organic and...and...,


15 Aug 17 - 10:28 AM (#3871761)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

The article reads that the kelp will be "mown" and will be sustainable, this would seem to be a similar methods used by harvesters for eons, the kelp is cut back but the root and a short amount is left to regrow.

I know there was some controversy in County Galway and the off-shore islands regarding the granting of a permit to one company to harvest seaweed at the exculsion of locals who use it for fertiliser. I will do a bit of research next month when I am back over there.


15 Aug 17 - 03:30 PM (#3871819)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Dave the Gnome

Blackberries are not out in the lane yet but judging by the buds there is going to be a plethora of rose hips. I passed a tree full of red berries - Clumps of them that look like blackcurrants. They looked ripe and judging by the pictures I have looked at since, probably redcurrants. But seeing I am not sure I am not going to risk it!

DtG


15 Aug 17 - 03:48 PM (#3871821)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Jon Freeman

I'm not sure there is a hard and fast rule Dave and others may correct me but it strikes me as being a bit late for redcurrants.


15 Aug 17 - 05:02 PM (#3871828)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

Neither redcurrants nor blackcurrants grow on trees, Dave. Send me a pic!


15 Aug 17 - 05:22 PM (#3871832)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Dave the Gnome

I will be passing again soon so will do. One hard and fast rule I always stick to - If in doubt, do nowt. :-)

DtG


16 Aug 17 - 08:35 AM (#3871931)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Jon Freeman

I'd missed the actual tree bit... Out of curiosity though, how big will say a blackberry bush grow? I ask as the usual, at least here, is to cut them right back. Mum was (the guy who does the hour a week does this now and is less so) quite, so it seemed to me, drastic with blackberries but it worked.


16 Aug 17 - 09:13 AM (#3871938)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

Look for the long, straight, sappy, leafy new shoots that have no flowers or fruit on them. They're the ones that will carry next year's crop. Don't cut them off. After the picking has finished you can cut away most of the shoots that have flowered this year, then train those new shoots along wires. The advantage of this is that the berries next year will be far easier to reach. That's a counsel of perfection. You could just leave the whole lot to do its own thing!


16 Aug 17 - 09:29 AM (#3871940)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Jon Freeman

Opps had confused myself and meant to ask about currants. What you describe sounds very similar to what hopefully we will restart next year for raspberries which mum did grow on wires. Did at one time have a nice mix of raspberries, early fruiting to the autumn ones. Have never tried blackberry but there are wild pickings.


16 Aug 17 - 09:32 AM (#3871941)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Jon Freeman

(canes going up and the wires accross)


16 Aug 17 - 10:02 AM (#3871943)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Dave the Gnome

For some reason or another I have been seeing this thread as Hedgehogs and Virgins all day.

Freudian do you think?

DtG


16 Aug 17 - 10:20 AM (#3871945)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

Well the song says that Hedgehogs can't be buggered.

Hedgehog Song


16 Aug 17 - 10:29 AM (#3871948)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Jon Freeman

Really not sure what do make of that Dave. I can't think of an example of hand but one of my own failings is that I'm quite capable of seeing one bit eg. in a paper, on one line and another elsewhere and look for the intriguing story. Things can also happen to me these days with hearing if (as is mum's habbit) someone tries to "shout" to me from another room - I'm not saying this has been one but over distance like that, things can come out as puzzling as "the cat's inside the television".


16 Aug 17 - 11:43 AM (#3871962)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Steve Shaw

I haven't grown summer raspberries, but autumn-fruiting ones are called primocanes because they fruit on this year's new wood. Just cut them right down to the ground after Christmas, the whole shebang. Mine have gone a bit mad this summer and I think the blackbirds are having a feast.


16 Aug 17 - 02:48 PM (#3872007)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Jon Freeman


16 Aug 17 - 02:57 PM (#3872008)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Jon Freeman

Blackbirds do like them, don't they?

I think mum at one time had a set of 3 varieties that she bought from one of the many (Marshalls, etc.) catalogues she gets in the post... I think the later fruit were the best, bigger and more productive.


17 Aug 17 - 03:25 PM (#3872198)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Raggytash

I was given 10lbs of plums this morning, plum Jam is now setting in the kitchen ..................

and brownie points have been accumulated as plum jam is my good ladys' favourite.

BINGO!


18 Aug 17 - 09:41 AM (#3872316)
Subject: RE: BS: Hedgerows and Verges
From: Rain Dog

If her father had been doing his job properly then maybe someone would have been able to make it to her place.

Silly Sisters