A Cotswold Year - Charting the seasons in the South Cotswolds

Monday 28 June 2010

Lady's Bedstraw

This year seems to be a particularly good year for this delightful wild flower: Lady's Bedstraw. Dry conditions must suit it as it is looking especially good on the limestone grassland today. Historically we understand that the flowers were used to coagulate milk for cheese manufacture particularly in Gloucestershire where the yellow of the flower gave colour to the local cheese: Double Gloucester.

Sunday 27 June 2010

Ash Tree Seeds

Seeds have started to develop on the Ash trees.Later the seeds will be distibuted by the wind and seem to germinate in large numbers in our garden.

Saturday 26 June 2010

Lazy Hazy Days

At last we have had a real flaming June with plenty of hot Summer days. Even at 8:30 in the morning the cows are lying down and seeking the shade of the oak tree.

Friday 25 June 2010

Beech Nuts

Nuts are starting to form on the Beech trees.Later the nuts will be edible but too small to be of much food value to humans.

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Reed Warbler

The Reed Warbler is a Summer Visitor more easily heard than seen as it sings its chattering song in the reedbeds. This one was not far from a noisy road which I think makes them sing even louder.

Monday 21 June 2010


So the sun has set on the longest day and although we might want midsummer to go on forever the days will inevitably now start to get shorter.We have already noticed the fruits and nuts of autumn starting to develop but fortunately there are still plenty of summer days yet to come.

Sunday 20 June 2010

Damsel Flies

Damsel flies abound near water at this time of year and these two are pictured mating at Cotswold Water Park. They rest with wings closed unlike Dragonflies and often fly in tandem when mating.

Friday 18 June 2010

Dog Rose

The sweet scented Dog Rose is now in flower in our hedgerows. Dog in the name of a plant usually means an inferior variation but give me the rambling wild Dog Rose over it's garden variety any day.

Monday 14 June 2010

Summer Sunset

Now the long summer evenings are with us the sun sets across the Severn Vale and the hills of the Forest of Dean and we are able to enjoy some spectacular ends to the day.

Sunday 13 June 2010

Open Gardens

Many local villages have open garden events in aid of charity and this provides a chance to visit many gardens not usually open to the public .You can admire other people's efforts and get ideas for your own patch and maybe buy some plants. Usually a great value for money day out.

Saturday 12 June 2010

Horse Chestnut

We may not have arrived at the summer solstice yet but the spring blooms are fading . Conkers are already starting to form on the Horse Chestnut trees.

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Orchids in bloom

One of the great pleasures of early summer is to see orchids in bloom,particularly on limestone grassland.

Saturday 5 June 2010


The Elder is now in flower and many people collect the flowers to make drinks and wine.This has become a local industry with Elderflower presse from Gloucestershire widely available.

Thursday 3 June 2010

Meadows cut for Silage

Not quite like the old hay meadows but two men and their machines made short work of this field today.It's not so good for the wildflowers that have not had time to set seed yet but makes sense in the economics of modern farming.An opportunist Kestrel was observed waiting for any mammals making their escape from the path of the machines.

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Stinging Nettles

Disliked by many for its painful sting the nettle is a valuable wildlife resource for butterflies.The nettle grows on ground rich in phosphates so is common near human habitation and proves a nuisance in gardens.The nettle is sometimes used in soup or tea and many think its sting is theraputic in treating arthritis and aching joints.

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Goldfinch on Dandelion

We have recently noticed many flocks of Goldfinch when walking and driving through our local countryside. We have speculated that the species may indeed be one that is on the increase.

This morning from the kitchen window we noticed this one making the most of the dandelion heads on our lawn. It being a wet morning some of the seedheads were closed up but this didn't present a problem for the Goldfinch with his sharp beak as he helped himself by tearing them apart.