Tuesday, 11 June 2013

It Might Be Summer

We've had a good three weeks of fine weather, but the weather has just changed and the current 5 day forecast gives rain every day. It might be Summer.  I hope that wasn't all we're going to get!

When the weather first turned fine, there was a stiff north wind.  After a week or so, the wind came round and the temperature went from 11 to 21 degrees.  Anything I transplant wilts immediately, despite being watered in. I got too hot to carry on working in the garden at lunchtime, and the cats have been lying, sprawled in the shade.

All the farms seem to have taken their first cut of silage.  The cold wind was good for drying, and the continued good weather meant that more fields can be cut, leaving a patchwork of yellow-green against the darker green grazing.  Lightly grazed fields and hay meadows are now awash with buttercups and ladies' smock, although unfortunately not so awash with butterflies.

Crab apple blossom and pieris
I've loved driving and walking along the local lanes in the glorious sunshine of the last fortnight or so. After a long, cold winter which delayed all the vegetation (the May (Hawthorn) flowers are just out, and it's now June!) it's almost as if everything is growing and flowering as fast as it can, without the normal progression from spring to summer flowers.  All of a sudden, it's all here, and fading almost as quickly. The hedge banks look wonderful, a mass of colours and textures.

Bluebells, red campion and cow parsleyBluebells and red campion add lovely contrast against the greens of grasses, rosebay willowherb and foxgloves, all starting to catch up with ferns which are still busy unfurling their fronds. The white starry flowers of wild garlic, garlic mustard and stitchwort are being crowded out by ox-eye daisies and billowing clouds of cow parsley. The last of the celandines and primroses are being overtaken by buttercups and dandelions.
The rusty spikes of sorrel are starting to show and navelwort gleams green and cream in the shady areas. There are violets and wild strawberries, scarcely visible in the banks and early purple orchids are only just beginning to set seed. In places, a mixture of garden escapees add their beautiful flowers; forget-me-nots, columbine, dame's violet and London pride, where only a few weeks ago there were daffodils still in flower.

In the past few days, since I started this post, a few miles of hedgebanks, starting a mile down the road, have been cut already. I know there are a lot of miles to cover, but it's too soon, when some of the flowers haven't even opened, let alone set seed. It's not as if they were getting in the way of traffic as they do later in the summer, when tall grasses, hogweed and cow parsley start to sag under their own weight and fall out into the road.  In places, cutting the hedgebanks also involves a light trimming of the hedges; with the birds still nesting, I would have thought there would be plenty of conservation reasons to delay cutting on minor roads for a few weeks. Carmarthenshire County Council, what are you thinking? Shame on you!

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