A Cotswold Year - Charting the seasons in the South Cotswolds

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Ancient Trees

We are lucky in living near to the semi natural ancient woodland of Coaley Wood and the footpath through the wood passes this coppiced beech tree which has been recently recorded as an ancient tree.
This tree has stood on this spot for hundreds of years  and has survived because it has been coppiced or cut down for timber and allowed to regrow from the original stump. The adjacent has been quarried for stone and the roots of the tree undermined somewhat but the tree has survived with six stems from the old trunk.
 Long may it continue!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Sunshine and Autumn colours

We are enjoying the September weather for walks in the countryside. We have noticed the trees gradually changing colour as they prepare for winter dormancy. As the trees begin to shutdown the green chlorophyll which is important for making food in the growing season gradually disappears from the leaves and we get to see the yellow, orange and red colours more prominently which is what gives us the "Autumn colours".
You can see it starting to happen here in this Acer on our patio:

Sunday, 31 August 2014


Sunflowers are a crop not often seen in our area but this strip near Leonard Stanley seems to be doing well. We  thought they were supposed to face the sun but these seem to be turned away perhaps avoiding the prevailing winds.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Maize nearly ready for harvest

The field of maize near our house seems to have grown well this summer and is almost ready for harvesting. 
Maize a type of wild grass came from tropical Mexico around 5000 years ago spreading to other South American civilisations. Eventually the Spanish discovered it and exported it around the world.
In the UK maize doesn't usually ripen as a grain due to the climate. The corn cobs are harvested together with the plants by farmers in the south when it is cut in the autumn and made into a high energy silage crop for winter feeding of cattle.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Yellow plums

Autumn brings fruit of many types. Yesterday we picked and dealt with the yellow plums from our old tree.

The plums are quite dry to eat raw but delicious stewed and served with yoghurt, in a fool, made into jam or with apples from our neighbour's tree and made into chutney.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Caper Spurge or Euphorbia Lathyrus.

We have spotted this plant in the countryside many times but this year it popped up in our garden. We couldn't agree on a diagnosis so asked some friends who easily identified it as Caper Spurge, Mole Plant or Euphorbia Lathyrus.
When we say "popped" the plant grows at an alarming rate and by the time we pulled it up it was one and a half metres tall!  All parts of the plant including the seeds and the roots are poisonous to humans and most animals so be very careful if you come across one. When seeds are ripe they apparently explode sending them everywhere which must be how it arrived in our garden.
It's other name Mole Plant comes from the fact that it is supposed to repel moles in the garden. W think it might have worked as we did have a young mole around in the spring but come to think of it he hasn't been around recently!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Horse Chestnut

The fruits of the Horse Chestnut are now ripening to the delight of children who collect them for the game of Conkers where conkers are threaded on string and swung at opponents conkers to try and shatter them while keeping their own intact.
This fine avenue of trees leads to the church at Frampton on Severn.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Ancient Oak

We passed this magnificent old Quercus Robur on a walk near Frocester Court and wondered how many hundreds of years it had stood there. Some branches have died and fallen but this is normal for a tree of this age.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Bird Bath

I was awoken this morning with the sound of much flapping of wings and thought at first that a bird must be trapped but looked out to find a family of blackbirds bathing in the pond.
The continued this activity for around an hour presumably ensuring their feathers were in good condition and free of parasites

Friday, 25 July 2014

Maize field

During our two weeks away on holiday the maize crop in front of our cottage has grown enormously helped by warm sunny weather and showers and is now above our heads as we walk the footpath.