Seasonal Sights - Summer

The air is like a butterfly
With frail blue wings
The happy earth looks at the sky
And sings…

From 'Summer' by Joyce Kilner

As June progresses, the hedgerows around Stottesdon become lush with elder flowers, honeysuckle and guelder rose and along the lane verges countless wild plants are now in flower; vetches, clover, ox eye daisies and exquisite grasses of all kinds. Look out for meadow sweet in damper places, its heady scent of almonds fills the air. Wild roses are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and conspicuous hedgerow plants that you will see - there are more than a dozen different species in Britain. The dog-rose is the most common, with flowers of pink or white.

June moves forward to July - the month of high summer. Trees and hedges are heavy with green foliage, and the countryside seems to hold its breath. Many of the more colourful wild flowers are over now but bright red splashes of poppies can still be seen and white bryony climbs high into the hedges. On your walk along the hedgerows you may be joined by a plant which insists on coming with you – goose grass or 'sticky Billy', its hairy stems and leaves will cling to anything brushing against it – a determined attempt to disperse it's seeds. This plant was once believed to be an aid to slimming. The herbalist John Gerard wrote:

'women do usually make pottage of cleavers with a little mutton and oatmeal, to cause lankenesse and to keep them from fatness'!

The tall, purple flower stems of foxgloves will now be pushing up between the grasses on the hedge banks. It has many graphic local names including ‘granny's gloves' ‘lady's thimble' and ‘fairy cap'.

Few sights enhance the pleasure of a summer's walk more than butterflies, feeding on hedgerow flowers. During your walk, look out for the eye-catching brimstone butterfly. It is thought that the word butterfly was probably first used to describe this butter-coloured insect, its present name relates to the colour of sulphur. There are many more butterflies to look out for, the hedge brown or gatekeeper, the comma and peacock can all be seen around the lanes of Stottesdon during the months of summer.


With our thanks to Liz Smith for this seasonal contribution

Dog Rose
Dog Rose
Honeysuckle
Honeysuckle
Poppy
Poppy
foxglove
Foxglove
Comma
Comma
Hill
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