Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Life on the (edge of the) road

THERE are many road verges that I find utterly depressing, as us Brits like to use them as rubbish tips.  However there is also sheer, wild beauty to be found along some road sides, as nature finds a small pocket of ground to exploit.

Just off the A46
Where the soil is thin and alkaline, and the sun beats down to dry the ground, the grasses do not always get the upper hand.  This leaves space for species such as red clover, lady's bedstraw, wild basil, bird's-foot trefoil and marjoram to grow, along with wild carrot supporting its disks of delicate white flowers.

Here are some images from July which I thought were worth another look at.

St John's-wort

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Nesting swallows

THE weekend before last (23/24 July 2011) we dropped into the National Trust's Knighthayes Estate (after a weekend under canvas) to take a peak that their lovely walled kitchen garden.  This is always stunning  in Summer and you can often buy excess veg or flowers, not used in the restaurant.

The former stable courtyard, adjacent to the garden, is now set up as a restaurant and shop.  The large archway into the courtyard makes a perfect spot for a pair of nesting swallows.

There was one nest with parents dashing in and out, pretty oblivious to the people below; however most of the people were equally oblivious!

I should think that this was a second brood as that the chicks are so small still.

Here are the piccies:

The local red mud making up the nest

Young chicks showing above the nest rim

Showing off the forked tail
Adult resting on guttering