Friday, 29 June 2012

Seasonal spectacle

THIS year has been a great year for wild flowers - maybe something to do with the rain.  Around us every hedgerow and roadside seems to overflow with colour and diversity.  As the season progresses different species come and go.  The early cow parsley and red campion gives way to ox eye daisies, mallow, hogweed and hemlock, with poppies lining the occasion field edge like a scarlet smudge.

If you get out of your car and go to the places where modern agriculture has not made its mark, then there are some special groups of flowers that have the power to wow even the most steadfast townie.

Rockrose in the Cotswolds
Kidney vetch in the Cotswolds
Just a beautiful stone gate post!
Rare patch of old grassland on the Ridgeway
First pyramidal orchid flower of the year
Ox-eye daisy on the Ridgeway
Great burnet at North Meadow NNR, Cricklade, Wiltshire
Water dropwort sp.

A wonderful spectacle.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Tyntesfield Dragonflies

TODAY we paid a visit to the wonderful Tyntesfield National Trust house and grounds in Somerset.  This a Victorian estate built by a man who made his money from bird guano and unfortunately the human exploitation that went with it.

In the centre of the beautiful walled kitchen garden there is a circular pond.  This pond plays host to a very strong population of Emperor dragonflies and numerous damselflies.  The small number of iris stems in the centre of the pond were littered with empty nymph cases still grasping tightly, and many cases were also floating in the water.  The best bit though was a female dragonfly which was very obligingly laying eggs before a fascinated crowd of onlookers.