Sticky fun with Myrtle on the Moss!

Tuesday 14th February 2017

A 'dating agency' is bringing together lonely hearts keen to spread their seeds!

Already adverts have appeared in a Personal Ads column from “Six foot-tall, fragrant beauty, seeking soul mate for some fertile fun. My name is Myrtle.”

Also “a committed carnivore is looking to get his teeth into some sticky fun, I’m no fly boy” while another says “I may be green, and a bit wet behind the ears but I am looking for squelchy fun”.

The 'dating agency' is based in a seedy polytunnel at The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside’s Cadishead Moss nature reserve!

Mosslands Reserve Manager Chris Miller said: “Part of our job is a line up ‘dates’ between rare species so they can relocate to our mosslands. We have a lonely female bog myrtle on Astley Moss and we need to find males to help them to multiply so that we have native peat bog species growing here.”

The Wildlife Trust has owned Cadishead Moss, in Salford, and Astley Moss, in Wigan, for some years. It recently bought Winmarleigh Moss, near Garstang, and Little Woolden Moss, in Salford, last year. Little Woolden is a bare peat-extracted site and it is vital that native bog species grow so that mossland wildlife has a perfect habitat.

The Trust is already growing sphagnum moss, bog myrtle, cranberry, cross leaved heath, and crowberry... in the polytunnel. In spring these plants will be transplanted to add to the flora already growing on the moss.

It is an exciting time at Little Woolden Moss where the peat was once more than two metres above its present level. Now the signs are that the damaged peat will recover if it is kept at the correctly level of moistness.

Chris said: “We see the polytunnel as a nursery with young plants growing until they can go out into the big wide world. It is a good way to start the plants off so they are strong enough to survive on the mosslands.”

One remarkable discovery is a dinner plate sized patch of was sundew on Astley Moss which is jokingly believed to have arrived from another Winmarleigh Moss on a member of the team’s boot.

Chris said: “Sundew are brilliant plants. They trap flies and you take just a small part of a plant and they can grow. In a couple of years time we are aiming to have bog myrtle, cranberries, sundew and carpets of sphagnum moss as features of our mosslands.”

If you are interested in meeting out our lonely hearts, Myrtle (bog myrtle), squelchy fun (sphagnum moss) and the carnivore (sundew), you can visit the mosslands or become a volunteer.

There are work parties on Monday and Thursdays which are a great way to keep fit and makes new friends while doing something for the wildlife on your doorstep. Please contact Anthony DaSilva for more details on 01204 663 754 adasilva@lancswt.org.uk.