The December Roving Photographer






Helen Morgan, who lives in Gwenfo Drive, was seen clearing weeds from the pavement on Old Port Road. She has to work on her own though, as she is just too young to join the environment team!!

These two sprightly Wenvoe men have 140 years between them. Dave [left] and Barry still like to show off their skills and have no intention of putting their feet up.




Went to Mow the Meadows

Wenvoe Wildlife Group

Meadow Mowing

Our thanks to the Vale Local Nature Partnership who not only cut the Community Orchard for us last month but have now cut Cae Ysbyty at Goldsland, the Hospital Field. This is the first time the small meadow has been cut properly and should help to ensure an even better spread of wildflowers next year. Next year several of our sites will be cut in late summer by the machine in the photo which also gathers wildflower seeds and this can be used to create new meadows around the Vale of Glamorgan.

Our thanks also to the Cardiff Rivers Group who have started to clear around the Watercress Beds at Goldsland. They will be starting to remove the willows that tend to dominate and overshadow a large part of the site.

And particular thanks to Mike and Glenys Tucker who have donated so generously from the Christmas Reindeer sale. This money is so important to the work of the group as it enables us to offer match-funding when we apply for grants.





Many of you will have noticed large numbers of ladybirds congregating on the outside of houses. These come in many different colours and patterns but they are most likely to be the one species, the Harlequin Ladybird, which, as its name suggests, has a variegated colouring.

The one in the photo is plain orange but they come with spots, blotches and stripes – some even have 19 spots. An Asian species which first arrived in Britain in 2004, they have spread rapidly and are believed to out-compete our native species. Introduced into North America it is known as the Halloween Bug where it invades houses and is now the commonest species.



November Activities


November Activities

The team were summoned twice in November.

On November 1st the team put up the Tommy statue at the memorial.

On November 8th the team tackled the untidiness at the entrance to Clos Llanfair. During the morning, Brian tried to explain the workings of the Hadron Collider, but he had us going round in circles.

It was Gareth’s birthday and so Glenys had made a cake. Gareth himself had brought along some dubious French drink and after sampling a drop, the hedge looked like the spire of Chesterfield Church of St Mary’s!

The team will meet for the last time this year on December 13th, at the end of Walston Road by the footpath at 9.30am.

The Environment Team give up their free time to help in a small way to keep Wenvoe a nice place to live in. We would like to wish you all a Happy Christmas.





Gardening Tips for December


Must Do Gardening Tips for December

Ex Wenvoe Cricket Club Captain Alan Grant has some tips for us.

  1. Do not make excuses for not getting out in the garden.
  2. Adapt the garden to the amount of work you are capable of.
  3. A water feature will add serenity to any garden.
  4. My main aim is to have colour in the borders for the whole year.
  5. Having an edge to the lawn really sets it off.

The Women’s Institute secretary Mrs Ewington has some reminders for Winter.

  1. Poinsettias will keep longer if the pot is allowed to dry out a bit before watering each time.
  2. Make sure the Amaryllis you were given for Christmas goes on display, as the gifter will check.
  3. Give those Christmas Hyacinths a good feed before they die back.
  4. Don’t forget to deadhead the violas and pansies. The displays will only get better from now on.
  5. Check for any dead or diseased plants amongst the ones you are over wintering.


At the Walled Garden, Victoria, who now heads the gardening team, has handed out the overwintering jobs to the staff which includes the insulation of ceramic pots with bubble wrap, water butts to be emptied in case of a severe frost to avoid cracking, and hose pipes stored away and taps covered.

The fuchsias in hanging baskets and containers that have been flowering right up to the end of November, can be kept for next year. Leave them in their planters and remove all leaves to cut down the risk of disease and store in a garage or shed. They do not need light and only very little water to stop them drying out completely. In the Spring cut them back hard and repot in fresh compost. Hellebores will soon be in flower. We can remove some of the lower hanging leaves to show off the blooms. Hellebores can suffer from blackspot so remove infected leaves and destroy. Forget-me-nots seem to pop up everywhere. A lot of people regard them as weeds as they have the ability to crowd out other plants, but they do bring some early spring colour. You need to thin them out or mildew will take hold and ruin the display.

What a year on the allotments; they have been well tended. The new plot holders have taken really good care of their patches and some are already digging trenches to fill with material to feed their runner beans next year. Old hand Herbie suggests moving leeks to the edge of allotments and heeling in. They will keep for ages like this, and you can then prepare the ground for next season. On one of the allotments, you will see a lot of compost bins; the owner uses these to excel in growing a variety of crops. He is a font of knowledge and very approachable, not like Herbie at all!

A big thank you to What’s On for letting me write this column for another year. We are fortunate to have a group of dedicated people who give their time to produce such an informative magazine.

Have a lovely Christmas. Take care and as always – happy gardening



Cutting Back The Roses


On a beautiful autumn morning the team set about cutting back the roses on the village green. Ieuan brought along his new cordless hedge trimmer and demonstrated its effectiveness. Team member Brian was absent due to being summoned to Switzerland to work on the Hadron Collider. Have looked it up and apparently it’s quite impressive.

Our next get together will be on the 8th November at 9.30 to clear the area at the entrance to Clos Llan Fair.



Autumn Activities

Wenvoe Wildlife Group

Autumn Activities

Our thanks to John Smith for cutting the Goldsland Orchard site. It is a lot tidier now and this will see us through until next Spring. We hope that gradually grass and wildflowers will replace the Bramble, Teasel, Dock and Burdock. VoGC have used their seed-harvesting machine to cut the Community Orchard on the Playing Fields. The seed has been gathered and will be distributed around the Vale to create new meadows. If you visit there regularly and have a minute to spare, the grass cuttings need raking up and piling around the fruit trees as a mulch. You will need to take your own rake over. Possibly also by the time you read this, the Upper Orchid Field will have had its annual cut by the contractor. A reminder to horse owners that this is a nature reserve and not for galloping through. Nor is there any bridleway access to this area – only footpaths.

Planting of Betony, Oxeye Daisy and Sneezewort has taken place at Cae Ysbyty on Goldsland Farm. The moth trap continues to register new species for the parish although as the nights get colder, fewer moths are on the wing. The photo shows the green Merveille du Jour which looks even better in colour. Check our Facebook pages for colour images. (and here )

The Barbastelle Bat project continues with deployment of detectors around Wenvoe. One detector in 3 weeks generated 36 Gigabytes of data! By November the bats will start to go into hibernation and may not emerge until April or May depending on the weather.



What, No Acorns? 

What, No Acorns? 

Have you noticed the lack of acorns this year? Robert Reader got in touch as he had noticed they were few and far between combined with large amounts of the husks of conkers lying around. So, what are the squirrels up to?

Last year, 2020, was a ‘mast’ year for acorns. ‘Mast’ derives from the Old English ‘maest’ which simply means the nuts of forest trees which have accumulated on the ground. We tend to use mast to mean years when there are a lot of them and this applied last year all over Britain. This year, the reverse applies and whether you are in Glamorgan, Somerset or Yorkshire people are reporting few if any acorns. Interestingly the Knopper Gall which distorts growing acorns and can often be found scattered on the pavement underneath the School oaks, are not to be found. The reasons behind mast years are varied including the weather but also may be linked to ensuring the continuation of the oaks by producing a bumper crop, many of which are buried by squirrels, birds and rodents. These are then followed by lean years which keeps the populations of small animals under control.

So with a shortage of acorns this year for the squirrels to bury are they turning to conkers? Well, yes and no. Conkers contains a poison which squirrels can detect if they try to eat them but this will not prevent their hoarding instincts from kicking in. So wherever you find loads of conker shells but no conkers you can assume that the squirrels have been carrying off the conkers and burying them. The net result will be loads of Horse Chestnut saplings next year!. More recently Sweet Chestnuts have been falling and the squirrels are losing no time in gathering these up. Grange Park is a good spot to see them in action.

A few things to look out for at the moment. Every garden seems to be festooned with spider webs, most of which will be the Garden Spider which can be quite a chunky size. And the Harlequin Ladybird is everywhere. These come in different patterns but they are larger than our familiar 7-spot Ladybird. They also move into houses and can be found in any gaps around doors and windows where they can gain access and spend the winter. Also check out the flowering Ivy which is all over the place in Wenvoe. If you see what looks like a wasp but has a hairy back it is probably the Ivy Bee which only arrived in Britain in 2001 so has made a good job of spreading around the country.



Gardening Tips for November


Must Do Gardening Tips for November

What golf and gardening star Leslie Sherard will prioritise this month

  1. Newly potted Japanese maple must be kept in a sheltered spot over winter.
  2. Do not allow fallen rose leaves to stay on the soil, or blackspot will spread.
  3. Great time to buy bare root shrubs and hedging at lower prices.
  4. One still has time to pot up tulips.
  5. Must send off for seed catalogues.

Sandra Anstee of the famous gardening dynasty has some thoughts on patio gardening.

  1. Always buy the biggest pot or container you can afford, they won’t dry out so quickly.
  2. Keep pots off the ground during the Winter months to prevent waterlogging.
  3. Next Spring use cardboard and paper in the base of containers for runner beans to help retain the moisture.
  4. If you’re going to grow brassicas give them plenty of room to mature.
  5. Don’t buy tulip shaped pots as they are so difficult to empty if there is a big root ball.


Check For Wildlife

Please check for wildlife, especially hedgehogs before lighting your bonfire. The best way to avoid harming any wildlife is to build it on the day. If you do find a hedgehog, using gloves remove it with as much nesting material as possible and place in a high sided cardboard box and place well away from any heat or activity. The next day after things have cooled, place the hedgehog as near as you can to it’s previous home. Not all people show enough care when it comes to looking after our wildlife. When Archie Condick was asked what he would do if he found a hedgehog in the bonfire, he said,” take off the foil and give it another thirty minutes”. Only joking, he said leave the foil on.

Lawn mowers

There are always things to get on with even at this time of year. Mr Robbins will always make sure his lawn mower goes in for a service around now, as come Spring everyone sends their machine in and there is usually quite a wait for it to be returned. All of us with petrol run equipment need to be aware of the new fuel at filling stations. E10 is the standard fuel. E5 fuel has more plant based ethanol in it and you may need a fuel stabilizer to get it to work in your machines. It also has a shorter shelf life.

Young Shrubs

High winds and wet weather can mean a torrid time for young shrubs, especially those in pots. Even when you have cut them back to avoid them being damaged by the elements. Wind rock can move the main stem of the plant where it meets the soil, creating a gap where water can puddle and as the weather gets colder this can turn to ice, which can do irreparable damage to the crown of the plant. Prevent this by firming the soil around the stem and add soil if there is a dip.

Alpine Plants

Alpine plants do not appreciate being soaked continuously and will need a sheltered spot in wet weather. Joyce Hoy is the go-to lady on looking after alpines as she is with most things to do with gardening.


Still busy on the allotments, where warden Colin is waiting for the first frost to lift his parsnips and Herbie is starting to make a raised bed to help his poor back. From now until February you can prune your apple and pear trees. Apple trees really benefit from an uncluttered form, so take out any diseased or crossing branches. Don’t prune plum trees now as they are susceptible to the silver leaf fungus. You need to wait until mid Summer to prune them.

Take care and happy gardening



Watercress and Bats

Wenvoe Wildlife Group

Watercress Beds at Goldsland Farm

We are delighted to welcome the Cardiff Rivers Group who specialise in opening waterways and who will be helping to clear the watercress beds at Goldsland Farm. This is a historic site with newspaper reports from mid-Victorian times telling how women would walk from Cardiff, gather the watercress and then walk back to sell it in the city. It is a haven for wildlife and watercress still grows there although eating it would not be recommended. Initial work will be to start to clear the vegetation and cut back the willows. Regular visitors will start to see changes in the coming weeks. The photo is a painting by Zoffany of a Watercress Seller.

Barbastelle  Bats

We continue with the Barbastelle project aimed at recording this rare bat which has yet to be found in the Vale of Glamorgan. So far large amounts of data have been analysed and there are plenty of bats, Pipistrelles, Noctules and Myotis species but no Barbastelles – but it is still early days. Visitors will start to see changes to both the Upper Orchid Field and the Community Orchard as annual cuts and seed-gathering machinery work their way through the sites



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