What a difference a week makes, this time last week we had freezing cold temperatures, snow and the river Pinn starting to freeze,-this week spring bulbs up flowering and the river flowing quite happily again.
Back by popular demand! well actually it was one request and they were being a bit sarcastic on missing the feature so here it is anyway. Iris reticulata a great little plant for this time of year ideal for containers, under trees or rockeries they come in different colours too.Plant in small groups for best effect.
Well this weekend was the RSPB garden bird watch, did you take part? Did you know that here on campus since 1982 we have had over 80 different species on site from Red kites to robins, 20 of these species are in severe decline and are now on the red list with 17 species being in moderate decline on the amber list. Have a look around campus who knows what you might see.
Back after Christmas and its good to see that despite all the building and digging up around on campus the badgers on the main campus seem pretty content, there are at least four from the same Sett.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Grounds Department.
Once again many thanks to our student volunteers who came to the bulb planting sessions over the last few weeks helping to make the campus a more attractive place to work and also helping our pollenating insects.
Many different projects going on at the moment on campus,upgrading the ducting infrastructure for IT being one of them. At least we were made aware of this part of the project along the side of Gaskell. We can revisit the planting along this section to put something more appropriate when we know the project is finished and hopefully no-one else needs to dig there .
Thought this would be a suitable time for a quick brief on the pond and the multiple challenges we face with maintaining it, so here goes:
The pond is constructed out of concrete with steep sloped sides all round and only about 750mm deep right the way across with no variation. Perfect conditions for the water to heat up quickly so algal blooms can be frequent especially with the levels of phosphorus in the water -likely coming from the mains water top up, bird droppings and food thrown in for the fish as well as vegetative matter breaking down, bottom feeding fish like carp disturb the sediment layer also releasing phosphorus. The two turbines which were installed can only run during the day and are so aggressive they disturb the sediment also releasing phosphorus (in the form of soluble reactive phosphate).It is surrounded by pavement and close to the road so run off is an issue and so is people stepping from a vehicle, on their phone and falling in(yes this has happened)
How do we manage these issues, well the first thing, turn off the turbines, the next was to install floating reed beds to assist in covering water surface, give a protective barrier along the kerb side, fitting a curtain underneath the reed beds creating a protective habitat for zooplankton such as daphnia which are very efficient at filtering pond water and removing algal particles, also establishing a beneficial food chain. The resident heron helps by keeping the growing fish numbers under control. The results are slow but judging by the amount of wildlife this year especially damsel flies and dragonflies the process is working, if we can control the amount of debris entering the pond even better, who knows we may even get the bats back feeding again.
(More detail can be found on our web pages soon)