The Beauty and Biodiversity of Guernsey’s Hedgerows

June 23rd, 2010 by Isabel Farrell

I have just come back from a week in west Cork, Ireland.  I am acutely aware of the contrast in hedgerows between my native country and here, my adored home for the past 10 years, with it’s shorn hedgerows.

I had forgotten what hedgerows look like in June left to nature’s incredulous designs; a wild mass of lusciousness, colourful, scenting and elegant. These flowers striped from our roadsides, their names almost forgotten, I have had to refer to ‘A Child’s Guide to Wild Flowers’ published by the Eden project to recall their identity. Therefore, with respect I can now identify each beauty as sweet smelling honeysuckle, smelly herby pink and white yarrow, trailing bell-like white bindweed, white and pink campions, tiny pink musky scented herb Robert, beautiful wild roses, torn and tattered pink ragged robin, tall ox-eyed daisies, gracious foxgloves, tall ribwort, bees favorite white and red clovers, edible pignut, pink smoky fumitory, red valerium, orange montbretia, poppys, blue scabious, purple knapweed and elegant grasses of many shades and shapes.

Are we aware that because of legal requirements we strip away the framework for our beautiful countryside, let alone the habitat for the many birds, bees and tiny beasties that we should protect (for our own self protection) in our so vulnerable eco system? I need to be safe on the roads; I have 3 young children. I love tidiness and order (not possible with 3 young children!). However, I know that managing our road side hedges is possible combined with the respect, knowledge and appreciation for the essential (let alone aesthetic) reasons for nurturing our natural hedgerows.

I call for a review of our biannual hedge cuts… anyone else interested? Contact me if you care via:  ifarrell (at) cwgsy.net

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