An encouraging update from our Barberry Carpet Moth project officer on planting new Barberry Plants -
Well the final planting season of the project is well underway and the plants are quickly running out now! I managed to squeeze in some planting in Dorset with volunteers before lockdown, and have had to cancel my planned volunteer events in Wiltshire sadly. But I have been able to continue with my deliveries to landowners at least, and there are now another 789 plants in their new homes.
We have smashed our original planting target of 3000 plants over the 4 years, and are nearly at 4000 now. Not all of these plants will have made it of course – we have had some serious droughts to contend with in the last few years for a start. Plus we had a spate of rabbits digging out young plants which definitely didn’t help matters!! So this year, I put as much of our remaining project budget as possible into purchasing extra plants for the project, as well as decent protection in the form of chestnut stakes and mesh shrub shelters. I have another 350 plants to home and lots of locations lined up, plus I am very much hoping I can get back out with volunteers to do the planting once it is safe to do so.
Over the course of the project we have planted on nature reserves, in hedgerows on pasture, and lots of people have taken Barberry for their own gardens and land. We needed to avoid arable land due to the historic issues with stem rust, and at first I thought this would be a real challenge in such an arable landscape. However, I have been lucky enough to find some extremely supportive volunteers that have taken plants for their own land, as well as put me in touch with their friends and neighbours.
Some of the locations have been young woodlands that people are planting up for wildlife too, and Barberry is now planted on path edges and in glades. Some of the locations in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire seem to have been extremely grand, with Highgrove House being an obvious example. Some of the Manor houses seem to me to be quite appropriate, where Barberry is being planted in orchards again.
Charlton Park was a joy to visit recently – I have been in the past several times when I’ve been to Womad music festival, and it’s great to know that in the future they will have lots of fabulous Barberry plants in their extensive arboretum area.
Moth Conservation Officer - Back from the Brink
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