Everything’s Coming Up…

I have neglected my little patchwork corner of paradise, my echken, and she has had a makeover, thrown out all of my suits, changed the locks and moved on.

Well, that might be overstating things a little. I’ve finally ventured out again after my convalescence, and the changes since I last sauntered around the local paths is striking.

Ancient hedges hung above the field and spoke to her in fragrant voices. The glory of the may was just giving place to the shell-tint of the wild-roses. 

Mary Webb Gone to Earth

The hawthorn and rowan have finished flowering and are being supplanted by roses – burnet, dog and guelder. The ramsons are finished and their white starburst flowers have become spikes of green seed pods. At Lambert’s meadow the bugle and yellow rattle have flowered and almost finished and ragged robin and buttercups speckle the meadow with colour.

I’ve actually been out twice, late yesterday evening under cloudy skies, and again this morning with S, when the wind was still cold, but at least the sun was shining. Yesterday I visited Lambert’s meadow and this morning S and I went along the cliff and then down to Woodwell and back.

The term ‘dog’ in the name of a flower implies it’s relative lack of merit – dog violets lack the scent of other violets, dog mercury is poisonous and without value to the herbalist. So what’s wrong with dog roses? Nothing that I can think of.

Here’s a challenge to the botanical photographer: this dog rose, photographed last night in the gloom nicely shows the pink blush, the ‘shell-tints’ of the petals…


Whereas this specimen, from an adjacent hedge, taken today in full sunshine, shows the yellow at the centre of the flower to much greater effect. (Technically known as, erm, the yellow bits, probably.) But the pink is almost washed out.

It was great to be out again, everything is verdant and lush. The meadow grasses are grown tall and although I know next to nothing about them, I was struck by the huge variety of colours and forms in the seed heads. There are new flowers appearing at every turn. Speedwells and wood avens, woundwort…

And this tiny creeping plant which I noticed a few times last year, but which I’ve only now decided is definitely dove’s-foot crane’s-bill…

Every year at Lambert’s meadow orchids appear, after the early purples elsewhere are done, which always confuse me. It was hard to get a photo last night in the wind and the gloom…

…but I think that this might be northern marsh orchid.

The ditch/stream was entirely lined with compact white balls of four-petaled white flowers. I saw more of it today in the stream flowing out of Woodwell pond…

Not a spectacular photo I know, but S was rocking backwards and forwards in his backpack demanding: ‘Walk Dad, walk’.

I think that this is water-cress, a firm favourite in my lunch-time salads at the moment. S and I also found some oyster mushrooms and so could have gone home with a foraged feast.

There were many small red dragonflies on and around the watercress. Insects added a great deal of interest to both walks. Close to the end of last night’s walk a moth fluttered past and then settled in the hedge. It sat very patiently whilst I tried all that could to get a photo, but even with the flash I failed. A shame because it was quite striking, a brimstone moth I discovered when I checked the field guide later.

Close to the end of today’s walk it was a painted lady which sat patiently for photos…

Apparently we have a bumper year this year with vast numbers arriving from Morocco. Astonishing.

I need to do some more research in the field guide. Some raspberries canes by Woodwell were humming with bees. The bees rarely rested for long and catching an image proved very tricky. This bee was larger than most others and was taking its time…

The more restless majority looked like this one, which seemed to have hit pay dirt and was drinking deeply…

This photo doesn’t quite cut the mustard, but I’ve posted it anyway to show the marvelous ochre colour of this fly…

And finally this photo, I like because I hope that it catches something of the fecundity of the moment.

I like the contrast of the huge leaves of what I think is a burdock, against the ivy-covered tree trunk behind. The leaf at the base was more than a foot across and around 18 inches long. Like something from a tropical rainforest rather than a sedate corner of rural England.

Everything’s Coming Up…

5 thoughts on “Everything’s Coming Up…

  1. The middle bits are the naughty bits – stamens, stigmas – unless its a daisy family, in which case they’re hundreds of little florets…you’d need a magnifier to see the naughty bits.
    A flower’s colour is sometimes not the best way to identify it, they can vary quite a bit.

  2. A corner of rural England has its poet back on the beat – a very enjoyable read, Mark.
    Any idea on an id for that second bee? Only a snapped one of very similar colours – yellow-black-yellow-black-orange, going head to tail – on clover the other day and can’t find what it is. Probably that means it’s dead common – not a honey bee, though, I’ll wager.
    Your dipteran is a Yellow Dung Fly, I reckon, Scathophaga stercoraria, if my Collins Gem Insects is any guide. Scatho meaning ‘dung’ and phaga meaning ‘eat’, apparently. Yes, well..

  3. beatingthebounds says:

    Hi guys – thanks for your comments and advice.
    Rob – I had the flt down as ‘a cow-pat fly’ but the photo in my Collins ‘Complete British Insects’ is not very helpful.
    I think that the second bee is a bumble bee Bombus Pratorum. I leave it to you to decipher the Latin.

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