Friday, July 22, 2016

House Circuit (13). Summer thoughts.

Note: House Circuit posts are drawn from the many 50 metre walks I make every day around our house.

A female brimstone .... Rust on rose leaves.  The Babbington's leeks.  Koromiko, Hebe salicifolia, full of bees and bloodsuckers; meadow browns and spiders, it has a sweet, elusive scent.  Wool carder bees are hovering above the columns of houseleek flowers.  Lolium perenne, perennial rye-grass.  Brachypodium sylvaticum, false brome grass, has lovely spikes with spikelets that dangle creamy anthers, the whole making troupes of elegant mobiles measuring the air.  I walked in Tony & Marion's garden next door. Tony has been confined to his house in Caterham lately and has not been able to give the lawn and hedges his usual attention.  Big Ian from just down the lane does his mowing for him.  I picked a bunch of chives in our plot as I had run out of onions for a stew.  The chameleon plant, Houttuynia cordata, named after the 18thC Dutch botanist Martinus Houttuyn, has flowered by the back door.  The leaves are edible.  It was very hot 30.3C at midday I walked to the village through the sunshine.  The meadows are rich with tawny brown seeding grass with red clover in small patches. Insects seem scarcer than ever meadow browns, gatekeepers and whites in small quantity, but the skippers have all gone and the umbels of hogweed are uncharacteristically empty of their jostling fauna.  At night only the occasional moth visits the kitchen window pane where in the past we had many different species over the year.  All these small creatures through their various stages had a biotic affect on the countryside that must now be dangerously altered and the natural cycle of growth and decay slowed with unknown consequences.  Allium bulbils, holly blue, crested dogstail like some ancient oath.  The ground was strewn with bird cherry fruit - glittering beads of jet; morellos ripened in the hedge, cherry red temptations for the birds.  The garden of sin.  The wet warm summer has produced large quantities of slugs and snails that are eating their way through the more palatable plants.  A butterfly, victim of a white crab spider hung motionless among the white spikes of the koromiko.

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