• Life's a beech

    I can put this on now, because this weekend daughter Rowan was home with her man John. On March 20th it was her 30th birthday - where did those 30 years go then? I have a picture of her with little sis. Elly, taken in 1993, sitting on a big lateral bough of a giant beech tree in the top of Warren Wood, where we did, and still do, take the dogs for walks. Several years back gales ripped this great limb from the tree and when the fallen wood was being cleared I managed to salvage a large slice, with the hope that one day I could make something from it. After seasoning in the back of the barn for a few years I showed it to Graham Richards - my framer, but also a pretty nifty wood turner. Graham, bless him, came up with this amazing bowl & it was only once it had been turned that the beauty of the spalting within was revealed. Many thanks G. I gave the bowl and the photograph to Ro as a belated birthday present & it seemed to go down rather well.

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  • Cherry trees looking great

    The cherry trees, both the wild ones of woodland and hedgerow and the dessert ones in some of the old orchards, are looking great right now, but the flowering doesn't last long.

    I only know of a few old orchards given over to cherries and by the very nature of these trees most of the older ones have crumbled and died, but, much like the old apple and pear trees, there are probably some quite rare varieties contained within these last vestiges. Here and there decrepit old dessert cherries also still dot some of the Herefordshire commons and are to be found in old cottage gardens. To my knowledge nobody has done much research on these, but probably the new cherry varieties and modern ways of farming them have kicked the oldies' relevance into touch. I have read charming stories of how children were paid three or six old pennies a day, during the fruiting time many years ago, to run round cherry orchards scaring off the birds. Somehow I don't think they could be persuaded to do this these days.

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  • 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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