Sunday 6 August 2023

Spring/Summer 2023 Prize Quiz: Winner and Answers

Silver birch (the answer to question 2 of the quiz). Photo: Wikipedia
Silver birch (the answer to question 2 of the quiz). Photo: Wikipedia

Congratulations to 
Mrs Ruth Woodhouse of Pontefract, the winner of the Spring/Summer 2023 Prize Quiz! A gift voucher is in the post.

The quiz had a theme of trees and shrubs. If you want to find out how you did, here are the answers to the cryptic clues.

1. Manx town first to lose street. (7, 3). Douglas Fir
2. Long John’s cane? (6, 5). Silver Birch
3. For starters, you eat what?!! That’s poisonous! (3). Yew
4. Tree found in polar chalk and limestone soils. (5). Larch
5. Like hard wood. (3). Ash
6. In the role of Mr Harman, of Grace Brothers, started owning a kitten. (7, 3). English Oak
7. This one will make hotel throw an upheaval. (8). Hawthorn
8. This one had noisy dispute and died away. (5). Rowan
9. Originally, many young Russians tried learning English. (6). Myrtle
10. I hear Mrs Blair is furious! (4, 6). Wild Cherry
11. Strangely a spire stuck in this tree. (5, 6). Sitka Spruce
12. Tiny, swallowed up in thoroughfare, with crate and bonce. (5, 8). Sweet Chestnut
13. Little holiday for daughter and crazy Emil. (5-6, 4). Small-leaved Lime
14. This tree initially has only red nuts, by early autumn mainly. (8). Hornbeam
15. Sobbing Bill: “That hurt!”. (7, 6). Weeping Willow
16. Ladies first in sacred tree. (5). Holly
17. There’s some cooked ham, look! (4, 3). Holm Oak
18. I rose in high dudgeon when confronted with this one. (5). Osier
19. I hear Hebridean island has fruit. (8). Mulberry
20. Don’t sit under here, unless I’m with you for a sing-song! (5, 4). Apple Tree
21. You don’t want to be stuck up in this one! (3, 4). Gum Tree
22. Ray comes to grief in this tree. (8). Sycamore
23. D’you pinch the girl? That’s what I heard! (7). Juniper
24. A tree with foliage to prevent embarrassment. (3). Fig
25. Little brother has honour for distinguished service. (5). Broom
26. ‘E orders glue, prepared for this shrub. (7, 4). Guelder Rose
27. British have no spine; but this one has plenty, and reportedly an unhurried fruit. (10). Blackthorn
28. Elaborate leaf dimple. (5, 5). Field Maple
29. The first-born sibling. (5). Elder
30. A ray of sunshine with all colours of light combined. (9). Whitebeam
31. Oliver’s companion, Stanley. (6). Laurel
32. You would find this one in woods that formed large parts of the National Park. (6).  Medlar
33. Did Prince Charles notice this in Lady Diana Spencer? (5). Aspen
34. Not very deep, with no hotel. (6). Sallow
35. Nigel, or Nigella maybe, goes to island in the Mediterranean, I hear. (6, 7). Lawson Cypress
36. Hesitation after finding large container behind scientific test site. (8). Laburnum*
37. It’s not true a metallic element leads the spy network. (5, 6). False Acacia
38. Why Mel C?  I’m confused. (4, 3). Wych Elm
39. I’m told that he is a mural obsessive! (6). Walnut
40. Raced recklessly from Beirut perhaps? (5, 2, 7). Cedar of Lebanon
41. Aircraft bound for Heathrow? (6, 5). London Plane
42. Christmas dinner on a knife-edge initially. (6,3). Turkey Oak
43. With choice of two directions a Yankee is natty. (6, 6). Norway Spruce
44. Creature whose eye is a target, with card (one of thirteen). (7). Bullace
45. Type of elected councillor, not man. (5). Alder
46. Mistiness on head of lake. (5). Hazel
47. Decomposed pin money tree. (8, 4). Monterey Pine
48. Initially, because leaves actually can kill, people often put large awnings round this tree. (5, 6). Black Poplar
49. Find this tree in which the queen bee chooses to make its nest. (5). Beech
50. From hotel, or south east Switzerland, is French crackpot. (5, 8). Horse Chestnut

*We also accepted “Viburnum”.

Saturday 5 August 2023

30 Years a Wild Flower Grassland

Marsh orchids at Poulton Hall wild flower grassland. Photo: Paul Loughnane
Marsh orchids at Poulton Hall wild flower grassland.
Photo: Paul Loughnane 

Celebrating National Meadow Day, the first Saturday in July, the Lancelyn Green family and Wirral Wildlife hosted a cream tea and open garden event afternoon at Poulton Hall, Poulton Lancelyn, Bebington.

At 10.30am the cream tea making and gazebo transport teams arrived. Gazebos were put up and secured by weights and 140 cream teas prepared. At 1pm stall holders arrived to set up a butterfly craft activity, Wirral Wildlife display, Samaritans plant sale and a beehive demonstration stall. At 1.30 pm the entrance and car parking teams arrived. Crowds gathered at the entrance over the ha-ha for the 2pm opening. The draw bridge was lowered over the ha-ha and visitors entered the enchanting world of the walled garden greeted by a friendly witch. There were musicians, roving archers and story tellers.

The Cream Tea Team. Photo: John Bateman
The Cream Tea Team. Photo: John Bateman

The Walled Gardens, which include an Oriental, a Classical, a Nursery Rhyme and a Witch’s Garden, have interesting artworks inspired by the literary works of Roger Lancelyn Green, his friends and associates: Robin Hood and Excalibur from his Robin Hood and King Arthur retellings, an Ent from J.R.R, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and a Jabberwock from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. The Parkland has a wildflower meadow surrounded by a nine-species laid hedge, each species with at least one tree allowed to grow. Mown paths enable walkers and runners to immerse themselves in it.

Dr Hilary Ash gave two tours of the wildflower grassland outside the ha-ha. The area was used for growing potatoes until 1993. Since then, it has been mown annually in late August or early September, with occasional aftermath grazing. The grassland’s fertility has gradually reduced and the grass sward height and density lowered. Grasses have become finer which has allowed space for marsh orchids to get in and for plants such as meadow buttercup, common sorrel, ribwort, and hairy tare to colonise the grassland. Yellow rattle could be rattled and seeds scattered and there were many meadow brown butterflies on the wing. This area is looking like a classic Cheshire meadow. The marsh orchids and their hybrids were particularly numerous this year. Much patience is required to make a wildflower meadow and this one has been 30 years in the making.

On the second tour Caroline Lancelyn Green, our hostess, joined the tour and expanded on how the hedgerow came about. Two of the far copses were occupied by badgers, one a sett and the other a latrine. The family loved badger watching and wanted to connect the copses up. Further to this there was an old painting in the hall looking over the copses which showed a previous hedge linking them together. In 1993 planting of the hedgerow started, a few sections at a time over the next few winters. Hedgerow shrubs were chosen for coloured flowers, fruits and winter coverage, with a total of nine species, one species for each century the family have lived here.

Tool sharpening at the Wirral Countryside Volunteers stall. Photo: John Bateman
Tool sharpening at the Wirral Countryside Volunteers stall. Photo: John Bateman

Wirral Countryside Volunteers held a mock ‘come and have a go’ hedge demonstration, tool sharpening, scything, and making a newspaper pot for taking cutting of plants such as rosemary. Three pots completed and then you could take them home in your very own plant incubator, a reused pipette tip holder box. One of the Wirral Countryside Volunteers, Jane, came and helped serve the cream teas and whist she was doing this had her billhook sharpened at the Wirral Countryside Volunteer stall. Jane was very pleased with this. Poulton Hall head gardener, Irene, got her billhook sharpened too and was equally delighted.

A new and interesting stall this year was Wirral Archaeology, a group of well informed and enthusiastic volunteers who research into the battle of Brunanburh in 937AD which is thought to have occurred nearby. This is when an alliance of Dublin Vikings, Scots and Britons came from the north of the peninsular and were defeated by Anglo-Saxon forces as they entered into the Anglo-Saxon part of Wirral. They had many interesting finds, all found within three miles of Poulton Hall, ancient coins, dice, a crotal bell that still worked after several centuries in the ground and Irish arrow heads from pre 950AD. They had excellent enlarged photographs of these artefacts so that you could really appreciate them and volunteers to explain their significance and bring them alive to you.

The day is a wonderful team effort requiring various roles, including being a witch at the entrance to the walled garden! Thank you to the 24 volunteers who made this event possible. This is the third time Wirral Wildlife have held this type of event and it is running along more smoothly each time it is hosted. Thanks also to Roger and Lynn for serving the cream teas, and Scirard, Caroline and Arthur Lancelyn Green and the hall staff for all their support to make it a successful day.