It was a sunny Wednesday in May and Gav & I should have been in Scotland with friends, but good old Covid had put paid to that so we thought “what can we do that’s just as much fun?”
Last year, a row of buddleia and verbena had been planted along the right-hand verge of the Wharf Stream Way at the Thames Water pumping station, to soften the area, attract butterflies, and help keep the nettles at bay. The plants had been rather decimated, presumably thanks to rabbits or deer, so some wood-chip mulch was obtained by the Parish Council and Gav and I set to with a wheelbarrow and spades to give them a helping hand.
We pulled up lots of nettles, planted a new buddleia, resurrected the existing plants as well as we could, put protectors round some, added compost, and piled up heaps of the wood chip to help suppress the nettle growth and – hopefully – allow the plants to fight back a bit.
We were serenaded by blackcaps, chiffchaffs, goldfinches and skylarks – and mewed at by a circling buzzard. Several walkers stopped to chat, which was lovely, and we finished the job just as black clouds gathered and huge drops of rain began to spatter down. Everything was bundled into the car (including three bin liners full of nettles – thank goodness for garden waste collection!) and we set off for home.
It may not have been Scotland, but it was satisfying to have beaten the rain, and hopefully to have given the verge a chance to improve.
Enjoy your walking,