I have been lax. I have taken my eye off the ball. Nature has snuck up on me and summer has crept in unreported. Today was a typical summer’s day in this part of the world. Overcast and hazy, warm sticky and muggy. The threat of showers, occasionally fulfilled. I took the boys out for a short walk which turned into an epic dawdle. Even before we left the track that runs past the house, the weeds on the verges had me stopping every couple of yards.
I blogged a few weeks back about the Green Alkanet that grows in many places around the village, without mentioning (or remembering) that one of the places that it grows is on the wee scrap of ground behind our garage:
I suppose that one advantage of having the recall of a Goldfish is the repeated opportunities to discover the world anew. (Although I do seem to remember reading that a school boy has conducted a series of experiments which prove that Goldfish actually have much better memories than we have been giving credit for – what will we use now as our epitome of forgetfulness?)
In the lane there are also Welsh Poppies:
(A clever blogger would insert a witty and erudite riff here connecting Poppies and Forgetfulness, but I am not that blogger, and besides what is he thinking of – these are not opium Poppies!)
And Hedge Garlic or Jack-by-the-Hedge:
These tiny flowers top tall plants, and in fact the leaves were some of the first to appear in the early spring. The leaves are supposed to be a good addition to a salad, but they are too bitter for me.
Dandelions are of course ubiquitous, but the flowers are cheery…
…and the seed-heads are both beautiful…
…and a fabulous free toy that kept one three year old very happy for quite some time this morning. He didn’t blow them, but swung them back and forth sending hundreds of embryonic Dandelions floating off on the breeze.
We will be popular with local gardeners.
The boys were in the double buggy. As I pushed them through the village, Sam soon fell asleep. A recent development is that Sam will now continue to sleep in the buggy when it stops moving. So at Pointer Wood, Ben and I were able to stop to admire the candles on the Horse Chestnuts:
I’ve always liked Horse Chestnut flowers but examined this closely, the flagrant nature of their soliciting is a little off-putting.
Under the trees the thousand starbursts and the garlic scent of Ransoms:
The fields alongside Bottoms Lane hold a wide variety of Livestock: Chickens and Ducks, Ponies and Donkeys, Pigs, Sheep and Goats – which kept Ben entertained. He was particularly pleased when these Cows came to say hello:
And he also appreciated the snails in the hedge bottom alongside the gate:
The hedgerows also held an embarrassment of riches for someone with a macro lens. There were Cuckoo-Pints (or Arum Lilies or Lords-and-Ladies):
Like the Hedge Garlic the leaves of Cuckoo-Pint appear very early in the spring. After these unusual flowers die back they will be replace by bright orange berries.
There were also Cuckoo-Flowers:
Stitchwort (I think?):
Most of these flowers are very small, but Crosswort makes them look like giants:
I think that’s why I like it so much. You could walk past it every day and never notice that it is there, but when you’ve noticed it once you find that you can’t really miss it again and although the flowers are miniature and very subtle, the way that they ring the stems is very attractive.
I didn’t even realise that I had (sort of) caught a spider at work here until I looked at the photo at home.
This is another very small flower, Ground Ivy, which has actually been flowering for some time:
This is a vetch (don’t know which one!):
I think that these are Ribwort Plantain:
…and that these are Wood Avens, but I’m far from confident:
I love the way that the macro lens can reveal images of flowers that seemed familiar but are suddenly seen anew. I think that my favourite from today was this humble clover:
Which I’ve never looked this closely at before.
The hedges themselves are promising colour, with some of the Hawthorn beginning to flower:
And at the bottom end of the lane several stretches of hedge which aren’t Hawthorn, with lots of pink buds:
…some of which are open:
I’ve never noticed them here before trimmed into a hedge, but I think that they are Crab Apples.
Later, a Blackbird on the birdbath again:
(not very Black because she is female)
The title of this post Realms of Day is the end of the last line of Blake’s Auguries of Innocence which begins with the oft quoted:
To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
We were out for nearly two hours, and probably didn’t cover even two miles. Sam was mostly asleep, but Ben was patient with my groveling in the hedge bottom in a way that I can’t imagine any adult companion managing. If you’ve managed to persevere through all 27 images, well thank you for your patience too. I did warn you that it was an epic dawdle.