As readers of the blog know I take a particular interest in the eradication of Himalayan balsam. 10 years ago, when I started looking after Droitwich Community Woods, HB was widespread along our section of the River Salwarpe and from Copcut Park all down our sections of the Pulley Brook. It’s taken a long time and much sweat and swearing but my team of volunteers and I have at last got it down to an odd one here and there – which, of course, are removed asap.
Of course I find it painful to see how much there is elsewhere on my travels and never cease to be amazed by its abilities. At Kinver it started by the River Stour 1-2m high and progressively 'climbed' Kinver’s dry sandstone ridge right up to the church where it is only 10 to 15 cm. high. At Hardcastle Craggs near Hebdon Bridge in Yorkshire I took photos of it growing all over the flat roof of a garage where the adjacent woodland was full of it.
In Slovenia they encourage it to grow to the total detriment of their native wildflowers because a major industry is making and selling all kinds of honey products so they prize this bee-attracting plant. And I'll bring this to a close two weeks ago when we were holidaying in France...you can imagine my horror when, stepping out of our Amboise hotel, we were confronted by a planter full of HB!
Yes, I do have nightmares about it!
Roger, Droitwich Community Woods