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ALL THE LATEST NEWS, VIEWS AND STORIES FROM AROUND YOUR LOCAL AREA:AUGUST/SEPTEMBER WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE GRASS? BOTHEL GARDENING CLUB


Club Members opened their gardens for members to enjoy and there was a delightful variety to see. There was a good variety of vegetables in the gardens too. Broad beans, runner beans, potatoes, carrots and onions galore! The sunny weather ensured the display of roses were at their best and the different perennials gave beautiful displays. The walk finished at The Greyhound Inn for members to enjoy a drink together.


We all congratulate St. Michael’s School, Bothel on achieving an Outstanding award in the School Cumbria in Bloom 2019 entry. Well done!


COCKERMOUTH LANDSCAPING DYANE SILVESTER


If someone asked you what your favourite flower was, you’d probably come up with a name but what if they asked you to name your favourite grass? Many of us probably couldn’t even name a species of grass.


TREES & GARDEN SERVICES • DRIVEWAYS


PATIOS • FENCING •WALLING • LANDSCAPING 01900 825297 • 07989 263 905


www.cockermouthtreecare.co.ukedward_mooney@hotmail.com


In my forays on to Arnside Knott, I see not only a huge array of wildflowers and herbs but also loads of different grasses that I couldn’t even start to name. The grassy northern slopes of the Knott have relatively poor soils over limestone rocks, which I wouldn’t have expected to be so species rich, so I started doing a bit of research and was a little surprised at the variety of grasses I could expect to find here.


by the northern brown argus, large skipper and common blue.


If you ever get out on the fells, you will be familiar with mat grass. It’s not specialist to limestone and in fact prefers acidic soils but it is the dominant grass of the Cumbrian fells – due to overgrazing and mat grass being unpalatable to sheep! Meadow oat grass is also characteristic of poor and over-grazed soils and only grows on limestone or chalk. It is incredibly fire-tolerant and can take over an area after a grassland fire. It looks a lot like an oat plant but is smaller and with much smaller seeds than cultivated oats.


COCKERMOUTH COUNTRY MARKET NEWS


Buy local... you know it make sense!


What does ‘local’ mean? Your Country Market has home-grown, home- baked, and hand-crafted items every week. We are especially proud of our gardening team, who have recently been bringing the most delicious fruit and veg, all of which has travelled only a few miles to reach our tables.


Amanda, who lives in town, brings her produce by wheelbarrow, so not only are there no air-miles involved, not even a car is used to get from her allotment to the URC! Visit us on Fridays, to see our garden produce, flowers, baked goods, preserves, craft items and more.


Rachel McConkey


We’re open from 9.00am-12.30pm every Friday WWW.COCKERMOUTHPOST.CO.UK


One of the more unusual grasses and almost the first to flower in spring, is blue moor grass (above). It is unusual because it forms its flower in the autumn when water is plentiful and keeps it wrapped up inside through the winter, so it is ready to bloom in March. This way, it’s unaffected by a lack of water in summer. Although you might not think that would be a problem very often in Cumbria, growing on limestone is a challenge, since the soil is thin and poor, and water generally drains away through the rock very quickly. When it does flower, blue moor grass has a blue/purple flower and you’re unlikely to mistake it for anything else. It is an essential food plant for scotch argus caterpillars and frequented


Crested hair grass is very widespread on limestone; unlike most species it can deal with incredibly alkaline soils, although it also thrives on neutral and slightly acidic areas. Its flowers look like small spikes growing in a vertical, often purplish cylinder. Despite its relative prettiness, it is actually a severe allergen for people who are allergic to grass.


My favourite though, has to be quaking grass. It’s so called because its flattish, slightly heart-shaped flowers grow at the very end of seemingly too-thin stems and under the slightest breeze, the whole plant seems to shiver or quake. The stems often grow slightly twisted due to the almost constant motion. I’d never even noticed it before but now I see it everywhere on limestone.


So, next time you find yourself on south Cumbria’s limestone grasslands, see how many grass species you can spot.


ISSUE 434 | 22 AUGUST 2019 | 31


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