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March 2012

posted 3 Apr 2012, 09:37 by Jane Arnold   [ updated 3 Apr 2012, 09:40 ]

March saw the full arrival of Spring, with some lovely warm weather. The Green became alive with birdsong and the bright yellow flowers of the lesser celandine (see photo on right). Lesser celandine is one of the first flowers of spring and belongs to the buttercup family (ranunculus). It prefers damp conditions and so can be found growing in the ditches surrounding the Green and under the trees near Leomansley House. It is also referred to as pilewort, as it can be used to treat haemarrhoids! If you look carefully near the gate by the football fields, you can also see some red dead nettle growing amongst the celandine. The red dead nettle (member of the mint family by the way and not related to stinging nettles!) is an important early nectar source for bumble bees. I counted at least 10 bumble bees foraging for nectar in this area. I did try to photograph them, but failed miserably, despite a number of attempts and strange looks from passers by!


A small patch of wood anemone is also just starting to flower on a damp patch of ground near the Leomansley House end of the Green (photo on right). This beautiful plant is more normally associated with ancient woodland but will grow in the open on water logged soil. More of this delicate plant can be found in Leomansely wood and further afield, there is a magnificent display in Hopwas woods (near the canal). The wood anemone is also referred to as the windflower, because Pliny (the Greek writer) incorrectly thought the flowers would only open if the wind was blowing. This is not the case; instead they require the sun, so maybe it should be called the sunflower!


The birds are also very active on the Green, with much singing and competition for nesting sites. The chiffchaff can be clearly heard , with its distinctive call. This little bird is a member of the warbler family and is one of the first summer visitors to the Green. It is thought that there are currently three male chiffchaffs singing. Hopefully they will all establish nesting sites and successfully breed this summer.

The Green, however, is much drier than normal for this time of year and some of the perimeter ditches have little or no water in them. Let us hope that we will soon get some rain and the grass can then start growing.

Spring trees