I went back today to have a look, and was pleased to note that many plants had made a valiant attempt to produce some new growth and some species had even produced a few flowers. The fern growth particularly interested me, as the next few shots will show.
This is a brand-new frond of Lady Fern (notice that the growth is pale green and that there is no feeding damage, indicating that the growth is indeed fresh):
|Lady Fern, showing absence of sori|
Broad-buckler Fern was exactly the same:
|Broad Buckler frond|
|Sterile Broad-buckler underside|
Hard Fern and Male Fern had also made a little new growth:
|Hard Fern sterile frond|
(I didn't check the Hard Fern frond for spores because very few of them are normally fertile. The fertile fronds have narrower pinnae than the sterile ones, they are more brown than green, and are much more upright.)
Many other perennials had made some new growth. Here's the gallery:
|Common Dog Violet|
|Germander Speedwell (and gall)|
|Willow (too late for the sawflies)|
|And its flower|
It's great to see that a number of plants have made some kind of recovery, but it's sad that too many insects lost their opportunity on this stretch of hedgerow in 2011. On a more positive note, it is clear that plants are the basic resource for much of our wildlife: plants dictate which insects are to be found in a particular location. Although insects are beneficial in terms of pollination, plants seem to be a stabilising influence since they are more resilient in the face of damage.