Tuesday, July 30, 2013

instant history - 30th july

Arrhenatherum elatius (False Oat-grass) turned strawy around the tenth of July. Of all seasonal changes by a single species, this can reasonably claim to be the one that affects the appearance of the countryside most profoundly, even though most people don't know what False Oat-grass is. The straight stems, already bare of seeds, glowing white, underlighting the whole landscape.

Blackcurrants were picking-ripe around 20th July. Bunches of green fruit on the brambles, some of them tinged with a flush of red. A big year for walnuts, green fruit covering the trees. Bunches of pale keys on the ash trees. Green haws. The first fallen plum beside the road.  Rowanberries are the kind of mustard-brown colour that means they're not ripe yet, but they're on their way.

And the other grasses, and the wheat fields, all golden. The leaves of the trees darker. It has been an exceptionally hot July.

Now we can see nearly all the flowers that will carry on with us through late summer and autumn. Common Ragwort at early height. Knapweeds out. Hemp-agrimony out. Tansy out. Yarrow out. Woolly Thistle out. Perennial Sow-thistle just out. I haven't noticed Bristly Oxtongue yet*. (*nb seen August 1st in Sussex)

Elsewhere, some surprisingly dingy road-verges: Mugwort, Teazel, and Burdock. all in flower, with Hemlock in fruit.

Wild carrot is now the most noticeable umbellifer. Wild Parsnip is freshly out. Upright Hedge-parsley is doing its low-key wiry thing. Fool's Parsley on disturbed ground. Stone Parsley looking good, a mass of slender green stems. Hogweed coming back into flower after a few rainy days.

Rosebay Willowherb and Great Willowherb at height. The smaller willowherbs are fluffily seeding, so is Creeping Thistle.

Buddleia at height. The earliest of the N. American Goldenrods are just starting to show. A wall is white with Russian Vine.

Broad-leaved Dock now shrivelled, maroon-coloured.

Wild Clematis (Traveller's-Joy, Old Man's Beard) at height (the flowers, I mean). Bindweeds at height.
The flowers are still around, but harder to see, swamped by vegetative and fruiting matter. E.g. Suddenly glimpsed, beautiful purple blooms of tufted vetch among a mass of grasses and brambles.
Lords-and-Ladies berries going red..



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