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Wild flower turf

 
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Treacodactyl
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 04 5:30 pm    Post subject: Wild flower turf  Reply with quote    

Yes, it's me again with another strange problem.

Our front garden has a very steep grass slope which will make way for some parking in the new year.

Before the work starts I'll move frogs and toads to the back, slow worms will be magically moved to the back as I'm not sure if you can legally move them.

However, the grass we have has been there for years and is only cut once or twice a year. We live near some chalk downland nature reserves and we have more native plants growing on our front lawn than they do. In the summer we get all sorts of bees, butterflies and moths on the grass.

The problem is, I don't have anywhere to move the turf to as there is no similar place in our garden. The back of the garden is too shady. Has anyone heard of people looking for 'wild flower' turf? I'll probably email a few organisations but I don't think they would be interested, I'd even be happy to move and replant it myself.

Sarah D



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 2584

PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 04 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Interesting dilemma; be wary of the slow worm bit, as you are obviously aware.
How about the Trading Post? Maybe someone here could use it?
What flowers and grasses are in it?

Treacodactyl
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 04 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Sarah D wrote:
Interesting dilemma; be wary of the slow worm bit, as you are obviously aware.


I had to chase a magpie off one in the summer, strickly speeking I'm not sure if I should have left the slowworm in the road or moved it. It may have magically moved into a safe part of the garden.

That's another thing to think about in the new year. While I can obviously understand the need for protecting animals is there anything that can be done to move them from building works without being trained or involving too many people.

I'll knock up a list of plants in a moment.

Sarah D



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 04 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

As far as I am aware, it is illegal to disturb their habitat at all (but I may be wrong);maybe you will have to delay your parking space until it has moved of its own accord. It may be opening a can of worms by asking your local conservation group, etc.
Difficult one.

Treacodactyl
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 04 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I don't think there's any problem disturbing their habitat as they are common down here. They are common in everyone's gardens but most of the people round here have 'tidied' their gardens and put down lawn or plastic sheets and gravel. I also have been granted planning permision for the work.

Being realistic, there's not much I could do to stop building works in the area, but I wonder if there is anyone sweeping sites for rare or any wildlife to rescue it?

I've spent the last 3 years improving our garden in such a way as to make it more slow worm friendly. (long grass under hedges, piles of decaying veg, stone slabs, undisturbed areas and most importantly banning our chickens from parts of the garden).

Bugs



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 10744

PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 04 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I was under the impression that it's illegal to harm, kill, or sell/capture them, but not to handle or move them (as it is for say, dormice, bats?). But like you am not perfectly certain. It's certainly our intention to conserve and encourage them...hence the "woodland" area TD has mentioned elsewhere.

It's irritating because, as they're in the area, they are clearly in other people's gardens but do you think they are making any such effort? Very handy for them not to know

I was a member of our local reptile and amphibian group and this has reminded me I've not heard from them for some time! I'll see if I can find out from them, they were quite active up until a few months ago. Had thought about doing them a web page

deerstalker



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 04 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

As you say, a difficult one. I can only echo Sarah's advice and contact the local conservation groups!

nettie



Joined: 02 Dec 2004
Posts: 5886
Location: Suffolk
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 04 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Gosh I've never seen a slow worm, and i had no idea they were protected. What do they look like (just in case I accidentaly dig one up.) ??

deerstalker



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 04 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Slow worms are in fact legless lizards (no, they haven't had a drink or two).

They have smooth golden bodies and the most attractive almost human eyes (snakes don't). They are very strong for their size.

They have the strange ability to loose their tails when attacked and grow a new one, albeit smaller and shorter (so don't pick them by the tail)!

They are lovely creatures, and their staple diet is slugs!

sean
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 04 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We've got them in our compost heap

deerstalker



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 04 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Wish I did!

Treacodactyl
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 04 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Something I do know a little about.

The female gives birth to live young, and we've seen a little cluster of about six 2 inch little marvels.

They hibernate over winter, the babies often under turf so we had to be very careful when we dug over some new beds in our garden. They all love compost heaps and sun bathing. Their favourite area in our garden is a 2 foot piece of old corrugated metal sheet. It's in a dappled sunny place and some days in the spring and summer its crawling with the little wonders. They can get the heat but are also protected from predators.

They range in colour from light grey / tan to a very rich copper, some with a copper stripe down their backs. We have a good mix of young, teenagers and adults, some over 18 inches long although there is at least one 'stumpy' who has lost her tail. I think they can live for up to 50 years!

Predators are numerous, birds, cats and chickens will all kill them. I think a rat took one from our compost heap judging by the remains and of course the worst man! I have never and I do not know of anyone who has been bitten by one so they are completely harmless and I wish more people round our area realised this and didn't try and get rid of the 'snakes', which they are not.

I'm not sure about their protection, I will try and look up some details, but if you are going to cut some long grass or dig out a compost heap it's always worth rummaging around first and having a little chat to them to make them move to a safer part of the garden. Obviously don't disturb in the wild.

They eat all sorts of garden pests, slugs and snails and they are even supposed to be able to suck a snail from it's shell. If you are about and about at dusk on a hot damp night I have sometimes seen them hunting in our garden. I have mainly seen them on downland type areas and I'm not sure of their range.

In short, they are a fantastic little garden animal.

Treacodactyl
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 05 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Sarah D wrote:
What flowers and grasses are in it?

The simple answer are 'quite a few' but I don't think there is anything rare but there is one grass I'm not sure about.

There is knapweed, scabious, margoram, plantain, clovers - pink and white, various dandelion type plants but more delicate, black medick, a yellow vetch, selfheal and several more.

Treacodactyl
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 05 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Just seen a local program on the TV and they were moving slow worms from a building site. No mention if it's legal or not but when they showed dormice they did mention you needed a licence to handle them.

Also: Slow worms have eye lids and no teath. Snakes do not have eye lids and have teath.

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