Glorious 12th - written by Mike Morgan

The Glorious 12th HGC Augusta Style Bank

After 2 years of mud, sweat and the odd swear word we now have something to show for all the hard work put in by the Conservation Team members. When the project was first mooted some 30 months ago we knew we had quite a task in front of us. The 12th bank and lower ground area beyond the stream had been a waste tip for many years. The whole centre of the slope beyond the tee area had been used for disposing of ‘waste’ mud when the tees on the 12th were constructed and was extremely dangerous to work on when wet (as it was for much of the time). So the first task was to measure the area, get it drawn to scale and produce a plant list and planting plan which was costed and then approved by the Greens Committee.

By taking P.H. tests all over the site we discovered that the soil was acidic (about 6.4) and therefore suitable for growing Rhododendrons, Azaleas and other acidic loving plants. There were further potential and actual problems with the Ash trees; they were poor quality, immature specimens, but large enough to blight the site and they hosted ivy growth which caused them to lean. In addition the site was covered with perennial weeds and ground ivy. Permission was obtained to remove the trees which was the working start to the project. All the large timber pieces from this removal have been used to support the top of the bank and to reinforce the stream bank which was gradually wearing away on the flow corner at higher water levels, making the area dangerous for working.

Over time, some 20 volunteers have worked on the bank and planting work started with a mixed, thorny hedge just over 2 years ago – mainly digging through beds of stone accumulated over the years from making paths and dumping! The bottom half of the site beyond the stream (which is 50% stone) has been planted with Cornus alba sibirica and Cornus alba sanguinea. Over time these will provide flower for bees and Autumn colour. In addition, we have highlighted the stream facing edges with Photinia fraseri ‘Red Robin’ and Hibiscus syriacus, underplanting with Narcissus along the top edge of the stream.

The main slope is planted with 2 types of very hardy Rhododendron yakushimanum. These are also used on the R.H. side viewed from the tee. These are low growing types of Rhododendron hybrids. Deciduous Azaleas kapaphill ‘Gibralter’ – in orange are planted on the L.H bottom slope to give contrast. The centre of the main slope has also been planted with 3 colours of Azalea hybrids. In total, some 165 Rhododendrons and Azaleas have been planted.
To screen the old fallen tree pile on the left, a row of 25 Guilder Shrub Roses (Viburnum opulus) have been planted. They have white flowers followed by large red berries loved by birds and will provide Spring and Autumn/ Winter colour.

On the path side of the slope, a range of Acers have been planted which will, in time make an avenue of colour from Spring till late Autumn. At the top of the slope weeping Acer palmatum purpureum dissectum will give deep red highlights. The centre top day bed is being developed with hardy ferns under planted with Narcissus – 500 were planted this year.

The letters HGC planted in pink and red Rhododendrons will gradually emerge as the site matures. The G and C centre have Acer highlights.

A small group of Tree Peonies and Camelias are also on the R.H. side along with Magnolia ‘Susan’ (yellow).

The stream sides are the last area to be developed when the heavy infestation of perennial weeds have finally been eradicated - more volunteers needed! – and will be planted with bee and bird friendly perennials such as Cowslips, Foxgloves, Primula Denticulata and Candelabra, English Lavender and various low growing bulbs such as Snowdrops, Wild Wood Anenome and Fritilaria meleagris.

Anyone who has wet area/ water’s edge flowering small plants to offer should contact a member of the Conservation Group.

Most of the site has been covered, where possible, with black weed blocking cloth and when planted, with matured pine chippings to conserve moisture and to deter weed growth. However, we now require help to eliminate weeds on the beds until we can eradicate them over a period of 2-3 years.

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