Will you help us to ‘Get Cumbria Buzzing’?

Duncan, trainee Ranger, gets stuck in to bulb planting

A few weeks ago we wrote about the ‘Get Cumbria Buzzing‘ project, which we’re excited to be involved with. This project aims to create more habitat for pollinators across key routes in Cumbria.  On the Whitehaven Coast we’re concentrating on planting bulbs at key areas around the Haig grasslands.  We started this process last week along Solway Road and with the help of some lovely members of the public we planted about 750 bulbs.  We’ve chosen lots of native species that will bloom in the springtime.

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Most of the bulbs are daffodils, snowdrops and snakes head fritillaries.  We also planted a small number of bluebells which ideally should have shady spots (like under tree cover) but we’ve spread a few through the trenches to see if they survive. When we’d finished planting the bulbs and had put the turf back over to protect them over the winter we sprinkled some yellow rattle seed over the whole area.  We inverted the turn to try and kill off some of the thick grasses that are currently thriving in the areas we are planning to plant bulbs.

Yellow rattle is a semi-parasitic grassland annual.  This means that it weakens grasses by feeding off the nutrients in their roots.  Some of the areas we are planting bulbs in are very grassy and haven’t been cur much in the last few years.  So we hope that by planting yellow rattle alongside the bulbs we will weaken the grass which will inevitably come back and be giving the bulbs the best chance of thriving.

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We have lots more bulbs we need to plant this autumn so we’ve organised another planting day on Saturday 9 November from 12pm until 3pm.  We’ll be on the Solway Road verge again and will have all the bulbs, tools and equipment needed (this includes biscuits!) so just come down and give us a hand.  Whether you can make it for 3 hours or 10 minutes everyone is welcome to help out or just come for a chat about what we’re up to.

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