A mix of news this month, some good and some not so good. To start with the not so good, the area known as Molluscopolis on the Upper Orchid Field has been destroyed by a vandal or vandals. It has been in place for 6 years and in 2011 won an Innovation Award from Keep Britain Tidy, the only time this has been awarded in Wales.
Sometime in early March in a systematic attack, every pot was broken, every notice ripped down – even the nestboxes and an owl box built by the Scouts were pulled down and smashed. It will be reconstructed but it is a mystery why anyone should go to such lengths particularly as vandalism is relatively rare around here.
The police are involved and have examined the area. If anyone sees anything suspicious or noticed anything unusual going on at the beginning of March please contact our local police officer, Kieron Byrne, on 07584 883323.
On a brighter note we have been offered funding of £250 by the Vale of Glamorgan Council to develop and enhance the sensory garden on the Community Orchard. This involves installing two additional planters with appropriate 'sensory' plants, providing signage including, hopefully, some in braille, purchasing tools that can be used by visiting groups such as Scope and creating a living willow structure.
Conservation work by the group has involved planting replacement fruit trees as well as primroses, bluebells and snowdrops. We have cleared much of the undergrowth that runs the length of the Wild Orchard at St Lythans and removed some of the branches of the large Sycamores that shade out some of the trees at the north end of the orchard.
In April we plan to sow wildflower seeds in Grange Park and Walston Road with the help of children from Wenvoe Primary School. Wildflower seed has been passed to the Vale of Glamorgan Council so that they can spread them on the Alps roundabout and to a group in Cowbridge for them to use in Old Hall Gardens as they did last year.
We are also hosting a meeting of Forest School teachers and will be taking them on a tour of some of our local orchards.