Time for Trees
As volunteers we are passionate about our trees, plants and flora. Over time we have planted a number of specimen trees that you will also find at many of the RHS Gardens, Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, Birmingham and Edinburgh and also at Batsford and Westonbirt Arboretums. One day we will have our own beautiful arboretum surrounding the recreation ground.
In addition to the many cultivated borders, we have also focused upon developing planting areas of special interest such as our winter border in one corner of the recreation ground. This involved planting 40 special birch trees and then under planting with 10,000 purple crocuses, the latter being in support of the global campaign to eliminate polio.
In 2016 we began to create a small Pinetum at the recreation ground containing a wide variety of pines from different areas of the world.
Under our many small birch and oak copses we have under planted thousands of native bluebells and snowdrops and continue to do so each year.
We are slowly planting a landscape for all seasons at the recreation ground so that it is a pleasure to visit at any time of the year.
All of the above would be impossible without our very enthusiastic team of volunteer gardeners along with our own part time groundsman who works very closly with them.
Environmental Benefits and Bio Diversity
The early stages of developing our recreation ground provided an opportunity to do something for biodiversity by providing sensitive landscaping and planting around the site.
Wildlife projects over the ensuing years have been seen to be making a positive contribution to this aim. Evidence for this has been provided by a detailed year-long survey recording wild flora. The records show that the recreation ground supports the expected species of Staffordshire flora appropriate to reclaimed farmland and longstanding natural grassland. It is pleasing to note that introduced native species from previous years, in particular yellow rattle, bluebell and cowslip, have established well and appear to be extending their range. There is no evidence of notifiable or invasive species other than ragwort but this is managed well and its controlled presence is positive to wildlife management. There have also been some rarer species recorded such as Early Purple Orchid.
Our Fields in Trust status ensures that this habitat remains protected in perpetuity, allowing the plants and the ecosystem they support to re-establish undisturbed.
Why do we believe this to be important?
As open space disappears, it becomes increasingly necessary to look at places such as the recreation ground as a refuge for biodiversity.
Based on current research we can safely put forward the following arguments:
Native plants are equipped to live with the local climate, soil types, and animals. Plants and animals that have evolved together depend upon each other for survival. Native plants and animals form a complex network of relationships, an intricate web of life with each species’ life cycle highly dependent on the others, also known as an ecosystem. For example, native plants do a better job of providing food and shelter for native wild animals than do introduced plants. Native plants are the foundation of our natural ecosystems and protect biodiversity.
As woods and hedgerows disappear, so too do the familiar creatures of the British landscape. All too often this is purely because their habitats - the plants on which they depend for the necessities of life - have been removed.
Insects, birds and other animals cannot survive without the food and shelter that plants provide. Native plants usually offer far more to our native wildlife than introduced plants. Already this year several brimstone butterflies have been observed within the recreation grounds area. The native alder buckthorn we planted, the only species on which its caterpillars can feed, are now established and we will be welcoming some Brimstone larvae onto the buckthorn in June. Hopefully this will make their future a little more secure.