Churchyard Update (14/6)

By Tim Hewitt, St Mary’s Head Gardener/ Community Gardener

Last week’s “Churches Count on Nature” concluded with an excellent bat walk on Sunday night, when we saw Pipistrelle and Leisler’s bats. There was also a sighting of what we think was a Tawny Owl. It really is worth visiting the churchyards at dusk if you can. 

Settled weather will mean that our grass management programme will proceed this week. It is also a good time to plant out our tender climbers and cuttings.

We will be continuing to develop our new areas in Vinegar Alley, which we started last week with the help of Maximus UK and GoodGym volunteers. There are trials of shade and drought-tolerant plants which can stand up to Cow Parsley. 

Another project to enhance wildlife in the churchyards is to create strips of shorter grass and wildflowers along the grass paths. These should provide a greater range of nectar for insects, over a longer period. The strips will first be mowed, then covered with cardboard in order to kill the grass. After two months or so, we will begin to plant and sow these strips. 

This week is a good time to appreciate Delphinium, Erysimum Bowles Mauve, Nepeta, Salvia Amistad and Phlomis.

Fact of the Week

All UK bat species use echolocation to navigate and hunt for insects in the dark. Bats are the only true flying mammals in the world. A tiny pipistrelle can eat up to 3,000 insects in a night.

Volunteer Times

St Mary’s offers weekly supervised volunteering in the churchyard at these times:

Tuesdays: 1pm to 3.30pm

Wednesdays: 1pm to 4pm 

Thursdays: 1pm to 4pm

Fridays: 1pm to 4pm

There’s no need to book; just turn up, preferably with your own gloves. Tools and expert instruction will be provided!

Burials in Bloom 2022 

Dozens of local people have adopted a grave to plant around and care for; if you would like to adopt a grave that’s currently not visited or looked after, contact me at

(Photo credit: Daniel Hebditch)