Sunday, March 01, 2015

Man-made reed beds

click photo to enlarge
A couple of days ago I got up from my sickbed* and accompanied my wife on a shopping expedition to Spalding. Because I hadn't been out for a while we also had a walk round Springfield Gardens, a 20 acre site adjacent to a shopping centre. As we came upon an area of reed bed and water I reflected on how well this feature had developed. In particular, how natural-looking it was, what a welcome contrast it made to the areas of formal planting, and how it must increase the biodiversity of the site.

There was a time in the latter decades of the twentieth century when, on the back of the rise in environmental consciousness, every garden seemed to acquire a "wild" area. It could be as little as a pile of rotting logs, a bed of nettles or a structure made of bamboo tubes for bees to colonise. Or it was a meadow area, a natural-looking pond or perhaps a stand of native trees and shrubs designed to attract birds and insects. What characterised many of these developments was their unnatural appearance; the way they were clearly bolted on to a traditional garden. Rather fewer fulfilled their aim of being a haven of wildness in an area of manicured order, a place attractive to native species that was a counter-balance to the regularity and species-poverty of many gardens and much agricultural land.

As I gazed across the greater reedmace, reeds and trees, I could, for a moment block out the sound of traffic on the nearby A17, forget the hum of air-conditioning in the buildings behind me, and imagine I was out in the marshes where bearded tits flitted about, bitterns boomed and the only sound was the reeds rustling in the wind.

* My absence from blogging in recent days is due, I think, to the generosity of one of my grandchildren. Not for the first time after a visit I was stricken by a minor illness; in this instance a sore throat, loss of voice, streaming nose and general lethargy. I seem to be on the mend.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 10.4mm (28mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5
Shutter Speed: 1/400
ISO: 125
Exposure Compensation:  - 0.3EV
Image Stabilisation: On