As the seasons turn, Autumn is the busiest for St Giles Wildlife Churchyard.
The last burst of the year’s growth is emerging from the summer drought,
assisted by recent thunderstorms, so there is much to be done collecting up and
taking away prunings, trimmings, and cuttings. Anyone who can help will be
most welcome.
The basic plan for re-establishing the Wildlife Churchyard is beginning to
emerge. A perimeter path has been cut, and the whole area inside and outside
of it has been raked, strimmed and then cut with Shay’s mighty ride-on mower.
Edges of graves have been picked out, and some new edged graves have
emerged from the long grass. Perhaps a feature can be made of these by
planting wild flowers inside.
It is hoped to sow Yellow Rattle to control the long grasses, and my experience
of the test areas in my own garden is that this will take 2-3 years. In the
meantime, it is hoped that the primroses will survive through to Spring 2023,
and we can see where to go from there.
The wild margins have been cleared, right up to the churchyard walls, and
much of jeanette Smith’s planting has been revealed, so there is a pattern to be
re-established, and any donations of plants or cuttings will be most
appreciated, such as St John’s Wort (Hypericum), Loosestrife (Lysimachias),
Leopard’s Bane (Doronicum), Michaelmas Daisies, or the like, will be much
A season’s strong growth of long grass, Teazel and Columbine has been
cleared behind the Memory Stones, so the back two rows have emerged.
Jeanette’s planting of Tamarisk, Hebe, Rose Bay Willow Herb and Wild Sweet
Pea have been revealed, along with her planting of perennials on both sides of
the seat in the north west corner, so there is actually a good basis on which to
build now that the overgrowth is cleared.
Along the west wall Jeanette’s tiles and stones have re-appeared with some
holes and burrows indicating some wildlife activity. Nearby, bees were busy
tending their aphids, and there are two families of slow worms in grave edges
in the north west corner beginning to make their shallow burrows in
preparation for Winter hibernation.
The two Rowan trees are heavy with bright red Autumn berries, and a pleasure
to behold. Over the past year the churchyard has not been a pleasure to walk
in. It is the aim of the Wildlife Project Team to make a churchyard in 2023
which is a real pleasure to walk in, or sit in and enjoy swathes of colourful
wild flowers.
Rob Murray, Project Team Leader, 01297 489206.