Friday, April 22, 2016

Ulex Europaeus

As of this morning I've got 7/10 gorse seeds germinated, (though 2 of them seem to be struggling to shake off the seed case). We're likely looking at a germination rate of 50-70%, maybe more. And I've got approximately 400 seeds. I'm going to get some seed compost from B&Q later today.

So I'm looking at perhaps 200-300 shrubs. That's enough for one whole row around the boundary, (in a two-row hedge). According to the RHS, it '[w]ill become leggy in rich soils'. It's a legume, and fixes nitrogen, but can acidify the soil. I might need to deal with that once it's established, maybe with lime.

I can't imagine how 'leggy' gorse will look. It's going to take some management, but will be worth it in wildlife terms. Here's a photo from Warwickshire, with a fairly formal gorse hedge on the edge of a cultivated garden, so presumably fairly good soil. And it looks as if it's responding to management, regular pruning. A hedge like that, couple of feet higher, will be ample to keep out the neds and burglars, and give a home to all kinds of birds and invertebrates.

copyright Robin Stott
And here's a link to a commercial site selling gorse plants, (not to this allotmenteer, obviously), with a photo of a lovely gorse hedgerow. Now that's the kind of thing we're talking about. Looks as if it's on the edge of farmland, so presumably soil pumped up with all kinds of chemical feeding.