Friday, 15 May 2020

From early to late spring in the woods.

I thought I would share some of the photos that I take on my phone when out with the dog; these were taken from when the lockdown began and I was limited to the morning dog walk, when the sun was often still hiding.
 The first wood anemones and lesser celandine begin to appear in early spring, I look out for these every day. First there are only a few, but in seemingly no time they are forming huge spreads of white, green and yellow everywhere you look. I love the delicate centre of the wood anemone.

 Wood sorrel is a delicate plant that you have to look for; it grows beside the stream in our local wood. People used to eat the leaves but they do contain oxalic acid so be careful and only eat small amounts if you do want to try it. I prefer to leave it where it is.
 Garlic mustard lines the path as spring advances and I love its vibrant green and cheerful white flowers. It is in the mustard family and is edible, as are nettles (when the latter are cooked to destroy the acid). These would have been a welcome source of Vitamin C and other nutrients after the winter. 
 Marsh marigolds grow around the old Beauchief Abbey ponds. Their large yellow flowers really stand out.
 White dead nettle (Lamium album) is still used by some herbalists as an astringent and is also edible.
 Ground ivy, (Glechoma hederacea), another herb used by herbalists
 Cherry blossom and a hedgerow full of different species - and Tammy investigating them!
 As the blackthorn flowers finish, the hawthorn blossom begins. Also known as Mayflower and a valuable plant in herbal medicine (leaves, flowers and fruit are used). 
 A path lined by wild garlic, also called ramsons. I love eating the flowers as well as the leaves. There are many recipes online. 

I love the way hawthorn flowers seem to pour down the tree, following the drape of the branches. The rowan (also known as mountain ash) is still in flower and the elderflower will soon be out; I always feel the countryside looks like it is going to a wedding at this time of year!
 Stitchwort finally appears to keep the bluebells company.
 Cow parsley arrives and grows rapidly to line the paths, with wood forget-me-not at its feet.
 Sweet woodruff, growing in the shade under the trees.
 As spring advances towards summer the grass leaps up and the wood anemones and lesser celandine disappear, to be replaced by plants such as cuckoo flower and creeping buttercup. Vetches begin to appear.

 Red campion.
 Yellow pimpernel appearing in the shady areas near the brook.
 There are many more plants to see than this, but I hope you have enjoyed this taste of springtime.

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