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The morning of 1st day of June and Brampton is at its verdant best. Last week, a period of showers and occasional sun drew out out the first crop of Mayflies, But now a blue cloudless sky only serves to highlight the rich green of the oak and ash trees which border the old railway line, where Speckled Wood butterflies bask on leafy branches. On the Town Field the wheat is in ear and nearby the allotment gardens are near fully planted. The growing Sunflowers are leaning towards a warming morning sun.

In the garden the air resounds with the feeding calls of newly fledged Blackbirds and Blue Tits. In order to sustain a nest full of hungry young the Barn Owl hunts constantly over the grazing marshes. The meadows carry a golden cloudy glow with the flowers of thousands of buttercups. The lanes and verges are brim full of Cow Parsley and Red Campion.

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The raised embankment of the old railway line is not the warmest of spots in early March. A walk along this route just after dawn is sharpened by chill southerly winds which remind you that winter is not long past. Plant growth along the narrow path verges proceeds in spite of the cold. Cleavers, which don’t seem to have slowed down at all over Winter. Red Dead Nettle is already partly flowering and the grasses are growing. But is is the Sweet Violet which grabs the chance and flowers in abundance – a white which one could almost miss at ground level. i resist the temptation to test its scent.

If you have faith in the Herbal guides, a walk along the railway line in Brampton can seem like a cure-all. Not only by the pure pleasure of walking, but by careful scrutiny of the wild flowers and herbs which have colonised the banks and verges. The shallow soil and dry conditions form a habitat for many medicinal plants. This year’s late onset of warm weather has brought many species on together. Many, apparently, carry benefits to the digestion in it’s various stages (Cranesbill, Cleavers and Herb Bennett), give relief from cuts and stings (Plantain) and some have the additional benefit of treating sword wounds and warding off witches (St John’s Wort). Thankfully not much call for all of these in Brampton this year.

Butterflies

June 26, 2011

As the temperature rises, butterflies are out in profusion. The flowering Thistles along the Bure were especially attractive this morning. Large numbers of Small Tortoiseshells were accompanied by Meadow Browns , Large and Silver Spotted Skippers. Along the lanes Ringlet Butterflies emerge from their Bramble nurseries and the Speckled Wood basks near the Railway Bridge.

Welcome return of rain

June 26, 2011

The return of rain in June has been welcome and much needed. The local flora which had become dormant and parched during May has sprung back to a wholesome green. The arrival of the wild Mallow flowers has coincided with a second flush of Dandelion and those small spires of the village garden favourite, toadflax. Not the most inspiring name but a plant which is appreciated by bees. This is particularly the case for the Common Carder Bee. This is a member of the bumble bee family, albeit a more subtle fur of orange, russet and dark brownish black. I understand that the “carder” in the name is related to it’s habit of removing hair form plants to line it’s nest.

Sukebind Scent

June 11, 2011

This morning I walked through a lens of scent which was suspended in mid-air. The Woodbine or Wild Honeysuckle is at its peak. The vines bind an Ash and an Oak together in a cloud of sweet scent. This scent is transient and is seems to be at it’s strongest when the morning sum hits the dew-covered flowers in the morning. The light summer breeze pulls the scent down wind, but the cloud seems to retain a foothold on the source bloom.

It reminded me of that sign of summer in Cold Comfort Farm when.. “The Sukebind (was) hanging heavy from the wains…”. This is the peak of the year and all we need is more rain.

Elsewhere in the Village the Albertine Rose at the Old Post Office and others continue to contribute their own fragrance. At the other end of the spectrum I recalled the contribution from Street Farm when it housed the herd of pigs.