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A Botanical Success Story at Gosforth Nature Reserve

3rd March 2020

Last year, on a day marked by blissful weather and the song of woodland birds, NHSN volunteers planted 2000 native wildflower plugs at Gosforth Nature Reserve. Supported by tools and equipment generously provided  Community Foundation serving Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, volunteers were able to create numerous planted drifts throughout the wooded areas of the site, planting a range of woodland botanicals to provide a welcome boost to ground flora at the reserve.

With the support of the ladies of the Gosforth Park Ladies Club – a strand of the Northumberland Golf Club – who generously raised £965 in support of the project, we were able to plant a range of ‘typical’ woodland wildflowers including Red Campion, Bluebell, Primrose and Wild Garlic, whilst also adding Wood Forget-Me-Not, native Daffodils, Herb Robert, Greater Stichwort and Hedge Woundwort to supplement diversity at the site. Plants familiar from woodlands across North East England but previously lacking at the reserve due to the relatively young age of the woodland here.

Obviously, it was difficult to tell in 2019 whether the scheme had been a success with plants taking time to adjust. Now, however, we’re pleased to report that the scheme was a success and many of the species reintroduced to the woodland have begun to grow and spread. One of the most notable being Greater Stichwort which has spread outwards from its protective enclosures to colonise more of the woodland floor; while Primrose plants have multiplied and now, in March, are providing a welcome touch of colour throughout the wood. Evidence for the spread of Dog Violet, Campion and English Bluebell is also noticeable on-site, and it is likely that the other species introduced will also return to bloom this Spring and Summer. We can’t wait!

We are incredibly grateful for the generous donation that made this project possible, and to our fabulous Saturday volunteers who lent their hands to the time-consuming job of planting the many young plants purchased as a result. With many of these plants set to bloom in the near future, we hope you will return to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Wildflowers are a key part of the ecosystem at Gosforth Nature Reserve and by aiding the spread of the species mentioned above, many species will benefit. Not least pollinators and insects whose larvae depend on these species as a food source.

If you photograph any of these species in bloom during your visits to the reserve, please do share them with us at nhsn@ncl.ac.uk. We’d love to share them on social media!

James Common, Comms & Engagement Officer