|Greater Stitchwort Stellaria holostea|
We have all been aware of the completely barmy weather, wildlife and nature problems of late, and we are all fed up with guessing when Spring might turn up. Well, this morning I made the most of a beautiful morning, taking mutt for a walk in my favourite woods. Clearly we brought the good weather back with us from West Cork, and I'm not complaining!
I happily listened to the songs of the Chiff-chaff and Blackcap, punctuated by the 'keee' of the Buzzard up above, whilst down below, I marvelled in the creamy waist-high lace of the Cow Parsley surrounding me like a skirt as I walked through the deer paths. The Bluebells, although now fading, still gave a blue haze through this vegetative lace, lit by the dappled sunlight through the fresh green leaves.
The beauty of this English woodland walk compared with the beauty of a West Cork coastal walk, although different in feel, are both equal in my mind and I enjoy them in their turn. However, today I noted clear signs of this seasonal madness we have been enduring.
The fields of rape have germinated poorly, and where left to grow rather than being ploughed in as a bad crop, have flowered a whole month later than the last few years.
The Hawthorn Crategus monogyna is in most parts, struggling to live up to it's name as 'May blossom'. Buds are still tight and are notable by their absence in general.
Even the ever-hardy Common Nettle Urtica dioica appears to drooping under the strain.
However, there were still glimmers of delight when I looked a little closer.
The intense blue of the tiny flowers of the Germander Speedwell Veronica chamaedrys punctuated the green of the path verge.
The vivid pink heads of the slightly mis-named Red Campion Silene dioica popped above the swaying grass.
But the best secret, hidden away in the mixed vegetation of the meadow corner, were the darkly spotted leaves of a beauty yet to flower. The Common Spotted Orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii.
I will certainly be back to catch these in flower, although who knows whether they will be on time, or late just as many flowers currently are. Still, that doesn't matter to me, as it means all the more reason to go back to my favourite woods, and I'm sure mutt won't mind either.