• Mollyblobs and Milkmaids

    Another cracking day and out in the garden this morning some of our most beautiful wild flowers that have quietly infiltrated our land over the years - all are welcome amongst the garden flowers. The startling yellow cups of Marsh-marigold, or Mollyblobs as we used to call them back up in Yorkshire when I was a lad; the delicate soft pink of the Cuckooflower, Lady's-smock or Milkmaids; Cowslips - a great success story here - for one single plant has multiplied into over 40 stems; Forget-me-not - (how could you?) with that multitude of tiny piercing blue flowers. And all the pear trees are flowering profusely this year, but whether that will translate into a heavy crop of fruit is anyone's guess.

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  • A cramped nest and fritillaries by the Lugg

    How about this for cramming pint into a half pint pot...or rather four blackbird nestlings in one tiny nest. This plum tree fell in the last windy weather earlier in the year, but a bold blackbird still thought it a safe site for her nest. Pulling the ivy off and preparing to cut up the tree for firewood yesterday I only just noticed the nest in time, and even then because of their amazing camouflage only just registered that there were birds inside. We've covered them back up & hope that all will go well.

    After 24 years of continually missing the very short flowering season I finally made it down into the Lugg Meadows this afternoon to take a look at the snake's head fritillaries. So rare are these flowers of the lily family that they only appear at 27 sites nationally. The majority of the flowers here are the white variation which is quite unusual I believe.

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  • Bean Pole Day - open day at Moreton Wood

    Big thank you to Paul & Jo Morton for a splendid day in Moreton Wood, Ullingswick. The sun beamed down on the annual bean pole day - a complete contrast to the gloomy weather last year - and lots of folks turned out to see what was going on in the wood and to buy woodland coppice produce.

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  • Their true age something of a mystery

    In the depths of the southwest corner of Haugh Woods grow some quite remarkable small-leaved limes. These are all extremely old, dare one say 'ancient', coppice stools, although it is clear that they have not actually been coppiced for a long, long time. Several of them appear to be closely associated with the earthworks of the Iron Age settlements up here. Is this just a coincidence? Could we be looking at trees with root systems established 2,000 years ago? We know that there are small-leaved lime stools of that sort of vintage (a little bigger maybe), but if all these stems of lime could be proven to match up by DNA fingerprinting we could be in that ballpark. When, historically, so much human intervention has wrecked many of Britain's treescapes, it's heartening to think that man's continual coppicing (and pollarding) regimes helped to conserve both our native limes, albeit often hidden away, like these trees.

    On neighbouring Cherry Hill (yes, it does have many wild cherry trees) the vivid green display of wood spurge is something to behold this year - better, I think, than I have ever seen it before. A goodly cover of dog's mercury too beneath the spurge.

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  • The strange and the delicate

    Saturday & a walk I must have done a hundred times down the years. What is it that suddenly reveals something after all these times that you might have spotted years ago. The play of the light? Being particularly receptive as you pause and look at something that most people would dismiss, but on one such day an image emerges? It must have been there for years, but perhaps as the tree grew it accentuated something less recognisable. Many will say that I've lost it, but see what you think.

    Same walk and just had to take the odd shot of the supremely white and delicate damson blossom. Round here people tend to take the annual show of damson blossom for granted, but it is very specific to this corner of north Herefordshire. Old trees line the hedgerows, and originally, if one studies old maps, these were the boundaries of orchards (most now long gone) and they were planted to lure in the bees, which, hopefully, would have stayed in the area and gone on to pollinate the pears and the apples as they successively flowered. There are still a handful of damson and plum orchards, and then there are whole thickets of damsons on commons and in field corners, as the tree has the capacity to sucker as successfully as blackthorn.

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Archie's Blog

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