All posts by bobgomes

Congratulations

Stonebridge Allotments were awarded a Certificate of Excellence in the South and South East in Bloom competition and Louise and Andrew Lees received a Silver Gilt in the”Wild About Gardens” award scheme

Thanks are due to the many plotholders who contributed to the allotment award.The judge who inspected Louise and Andrew’s plot commented that in addition to growing plenty of fruit and vegetables, they found room for a lot of flowers that were beneficial to insects.

Certificate-of-Excellence-SE-in-Bloom-18wildlife-gardening-award-(003)-1

Willow Emerald damselfly discovered on the Allotment

The Willow  Emerald Damselfly was first discovered in the UK in 2007 in East Anglia and has since spread to a number of sites in southern England, including some sites in North and East Kent. On  29th August I found an individual perched on a willow bush opposite my allotment and have since seen several others, including one female egg laying. As far as I am aware, this is the first occurrence on the allotments and possibly the first record for Faversham town.

Willow-Emerald-perched-side-view

The distinctive features are the metallic green body with wings raised at an angle when perched, the brown eyes, the pale wing spots with a dark border and the spur shaped mark on the side of the thorax. Willow-Emerald-thorax The Willow Emerald Damselfly is normally found near ponds, canals and slow flowing waters with overhanging trees. It is unique in the UK owing to its behaviour and  spends a lot of the time basking in the sun, perched on trees over water.

Willow Emerald Damselfly females lay eggs into the bark of willow and alder trees. The egg laying leaves distinctive scars on the bark of the twigs.The eggs overwinter and then in the spring the nymphs hatch and fall into the water below. This behaviour is quite different to our other UK damselflies that lay their eggs into submerged aquatic or emergent  plants within the water.

Willow-Emerald-egg-laying

It is a late emerging species, with most records between July and October, so keep an eye out for it in the coming months. All photos by Bob Gomes

Some useful links added

.See the useful links tab/page for links to other websites that contain a lot of information of relevance to the allotments. The National Allotment Society and Hotwell & District Allotments Association Ltd sites are packed full of advice and information. Wildlife on allotments is a Natural England site that provides general information and lots of information on the wildlife that can be found on allotments. The National Allotment Society magazine  is a good read and has useful tips and advice for plot holders.