Sunday, April 13, 2014
AN invasion of aggressive onions has bought tears to the eyes of bluebell lovers in Sidmouth.
What appear to be little white flowers are, in fact, a wild form of the vegetable – with a smell to match.
They have taken hold in a beauty spot and other parts of the town, leaving residents missing a more familiar spring site.
Hardly a bluebell is to be seen where many used to be in the Byes - with large patches of the wild onion growing in their place.
Green-fingered district council workers have blamed the situation on a previous infestation of Japanese knotweed.
Lois Kelly, a Sidmouth resident of 25 years and gardener, has observed the onions taking hold and described them as a ‘menace’ to bluebells.
She said: “They are about the same size and have invaded the Byes and other parts of Sidmouth.
“They are not white bells, they are wild onion and very aggressively invasive.
“When you walk by on a warm day, they smell of onion - or just break a leaf stalk and you can smell it.
Lois advised residents: “If you have them in your garden and don’t want to be overrun or have your bluebells annihilated, then dig them up - bulb and all - and don’t put them in your compost, but into a black bag and leave to rot on their own.”
A spokesman for East Devon District Council (EDDC), which maintains the Byes and several other green areas, said wild onion is growing on the bank between Water Lane and Lawn Vista on the west side of the park.
He added: “The bank did have an infestation of Japanese knotweed until recently. It has been treated progressively over the last five to six years and it looks like the wild onion has grown in to take over the space.
“Any bluebells that were there were either choked out by the knotweed or succumbed to the herbicide used to control it.”