Second Half of May 2021

The second half of May became drier and sunnier. Although we did still have a few rain showers one of which this squirrel got caught out in.wet grey squirrelThe sparrowhawk helped herself to one of the pigeons.sparrowhawk on dead pigeonA carrion crow checked out the carcass, but despite its name decided it preferred suet pellets.crow with dead pigeonAt least two hedgehogs have been regularly visiting the hedgehog feeder throughout each night.infrared hedgehogThe wood pigeons have been pairing off amidst much billing and cooing.two wood pigeonsI think it is fair to say that the trees are now fully in leaf.leafy treesSome are in flower like the Midlands blossomsThe white lilac always flowers after the purple lilac for some reason.white lilac flowersThe ceanothus is still attracting the bees.bee on blue flowerAs are the geraniums.bee on pink flowerWild strawberries are blossoming.white flowers with yellow middlesThey grow amongst the Herb Robert, all over the paths!pink flowersSomewhat more flamboyant is this flowerThe dog roses indicate that summer is very nearly here, along with the sound of screaming swifts overhead.white rose#NoMowMay comes to an end with a dandelion seed head against a backdrop of germander speedwell.dandelion seed head



June Blossoms

Once the blackthorn and hawthorn blossoms die off, the hedgerows become festooned with fresh white and pink bloomsPhoto of dog rose in hedgerow

These are dog roses.

As well as making our hedgerows look pretty, they and the bramble flowers seemed pretty popular with the bumblebees too. They seemed to mostly be tree bees, Bombus hypnorum and I think early bumblebees, Bombus pratorum.

Dog Rose

At the end of June the blossoms of the Dog Rose were out. The flowers are seemingly popular with bumblebees.  This shrub is a wild climbing of dog rose Some say that it is named due to its curative properties after being bitten by a mad dog. However it is more likely that it used to be called a Dag Rose because of its dagger-like thorns and has been wilfully mispronounced over the centuries.

Later in the year it will produce rose hips, a very useful source of food for birds. During World War II when Britain was struggling to import fresh fruit thanks to the Nazi submarine wolf packs, rose hips were gathered to make a syrup rich in vitamin C.  Apparently fairies eat them to make themselves invisible – this must be why you never see any fairies; obvious really. It is also known as Witch’s Briar: I don’t know exactly what witches did with them, just that it is something to do with, surprise surprise, love (beautiful flowers, painful thorns – very symbolic). So if there are any witches out there with more information the comments box is just itching to be used. Oh yes that reminds me; rose hip powder was also used to relieve itching. What a useful plant.