Nature just keeps on coming.

It seems as though all my posts are notes on nature, and, I apologise a little for that, but, when there is so much happening, so much that is new to look at every day, it is easy to forget about new governments and ash clouds, and to just get carried away with the song of blackcaps and the sight of butterflies, more of which later.

So, on the what’s new front, what is new?  For starters, my favourite rose, rosa rugosa, is beginning to flower.  I know they look blousy and flowery in their barbie pink and startling white, but the smell has to rival honeysuckle as my favourite scent.  Fortunately they are a favourite on industrial estates allowing me to stop every day to get a snort on my way to work.  Other flowers are out too, buttercups are now the yellow flower of choice for all self-respecting roadsides, as their predecessor dandelions seem to be going to seed.

There are other newcomers in the flower world if you look closely, including the very delicate looking vetch.  This member of the legume family seems to be fairly abundant once you start looking for it, mainly preferring slightly shadier conditions.

Many of the shrubs and trees appear to be flowering, with the hawthorn in full flower on both shady and sunny sides of the street.  Dogwood and sorbus (aka Mountain Ash or Rowan) are also showing off their white flowers, and the horse chestnuts are in full bloom.

I have no new birds to report, but the starlings and sparrows seem to have fledged and they are now busy repairing their nests (possibly with the aid of leaves pulled from my sweet peas) ready for the next brood.

On the insect front, I saw both a Holly Blue and a couple of Cabbage Whites in the garden today.  I am still chasing a picture of one of the Orange Tip butterflies that are patrolling verges and hedgerows, but in the mean time I did get a less than satisfactory picture of a Speckled Wood with its wings closed, an insect which is appearing in ever increasing numbers along the old railway track.

Today was also a good day for damselflies, with numbers emerging from the pond getting into double figures – the bamboo and rhubarb appearing to be good places to sit in the sun!

In the garden, perhaps half of the lettuces I planted out last week are still surviving, but one of my courgette seedlings has passed away, and my beans are awaiting the installation of a suitable climbing frame so they can be planted out (small hint there).  The bees are still making use of the pulmonaria, but are also being attracted to the aquilegia which is now in flower – although mainly in shades of purple and pink – oh, how I covet the white ones I saw round the corner!

Rosa Rugosa

As I mentioned in a previous post, one of my favourite flowers of the moment is rosa rugosa.  

rosa rugosa and bee

I am not a huge fan of roses, most seem to be grown for their visual impact these days, whereas I thought that the whole point of a rose was the scent.  I therefore don’t have any roses in my garden at the moment.  That said, however, rosa rugosa is a huge exception and the scent around the industrial estate at the moment is divine.  (If you see a short person snorting the hedgerows of a Daventry industrial estate then that is probably me.)

According to Wikipedia, Rosa Rugosa is apparently a native of eastern asia but has been introduced to Europe where it is used in landscaping and is particularly useful in coastal areas, as well as being pretty hardy it is also highly tolerant of salt.  (This latter property also makes it useful to plant near roads that are regularly in need of deicing with salt.)  The colour of the bloom varies from white to dark pink, and double and single cultivars are known.

The rose is also popular with bees, gives colour lasting well into autumn with bright yellow autumn leaves and bright red hips that are packed with vitamin C.

Reasons to take a walk.

OK, so we all know that walking to and from work is good for the environment and makes us healthier (unless we get run over by a lorry). I also maintain that not only does it reduce stress, but makes our lives more interesting, allowing us to notice the nature all around us that we usually don’t even see.

For example, the other Friday I had a bit of a stressy day at work, but, fortunately I get to walk home afterwards. After walking through the gate, the first thing I am hit by is the perfume of the rosa rugosa that is planted as one passes between industrial estates. If you don’t know what this smells like, then I can only describe it as the scent you expect from a rose (but which you rarely get these days) but more so, it hits you before you see the rose itself, which, lets face it, is a bit of a messy looking thing. This is probably my favourite scent (although honeysuckle can give it a run for its money). Straight away, mood lifted.

Dog RosesA cluster of Elderflowers

Then, as I walk along, listening to the song thrush, I find the dog roses in amongst the hedges (little scent, but look pretty), and the flag iris by the lake. As I get to the old railway track I can hear the chiffchaff calling, the trees rustling in the wind and, strangely enough, a red legged partridge sat on top of someone’s roof shouting away, no wonder they get shot, that would have to be one of the most annoying sounds.

So, with a smile on my face from encountering such an unlikely bird sat on a roof top, I wander past more dog roses, hear families of long tailed tits chirring in the trees, and, wander past the fluffy clouds of elder flowers. Not a bad way to end the week.