It was a blistering hot July day yesterday.
Any animal with any sense was lying down in the shadiest place they could find.
Lots of water and rest stops were required.
This tree is also the arboreal equivalent of Rhododendron. It has one of the largest leaves of any tree in the UK and casts dense shade. When the leaves fall they create a thick leaf litter that is toxic and inhibits the growth of other plants.
Even when Sweet Chestnut is actively coppiced there is very little Spring growth as you would find in native coppice woodland, just a thick blanket of dead toxic leaves.
I do like coppice woodland, native coppice woodland is a wonderful wildlife habitat but it is important to know that not all coppice is the same. Hazel coppices well, Oak, Birch and Willow are the best wildlife trees that we have but diversity is the real important issue and the more species of tree a wood supports the more life it will support. Monocultures of non native species are an ecological disaster.
Having said that, some of my best friends are Sweet Chestnut as part of a mixed woodland it is welcome in my world. It has good nuts.
The plants that do thrive here are the Spring flowers, Wood Anemones, Lesser Celandine and Bluebells.
We have come to look at the Bluebells.
This is all that remains of the Bluebells that carpeted the floor of this wood a couple of months back but this is an important part of the Bluebell story.
There is much more to Bluebells than the showy display of flowers in early May. The story starts with the tiny green shoots that pierce through the leaf litter in January and it ends here with these seed pods full of shiny black seeds that will be tomorrows Bluebells.
Today looks like another scorcher, the plants are buzzing with life, there is lots to see and write about and Fizz and I need to get out there and work on our tans. 🙂