A Cotswold Year - Charting the seasons in the South Cotswolds

Saturday 31 July 2010


Summer flowers can be a bit more robust than the delicate spring blooms. The prickly thistle survives by being unappetising to grazing animals and will later spread its seeds by the wind as white thistledown fills the air and travels for miles.

Thursday 29 July 2010

Muck Spreading Time

Time to improve the fertility of grazing land by spreading the muck accumulated from the winter quarters of the livestock. A bit of a smelly process but valuable organic fertiliser for the fields.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Corn Poppies

Corn poppy seeds can remain viable for 100years so poppies soon spring up whenever the soil is disturbed. Swaithes appear in crops wherever the sprayer has missed and there is no need to plant them in the garden as they just self seed.Each flower produces around 1000 seeds some of which germinate immediately and others remain dormant for years.

Sunday 18 July 2010

Wheat nearly ready

The Summer rolls on and the wheat has started to change to a golden brown colour nearly ready for harvest. Let's hope for the dry sunny weather to return to finish ripening the crop.
Posted by Picasa

Friday 16 July 2010

Swallows on the wires

On a still evening whilst out for a stroll we found this group of young swallows collected together on overhead wires. By the numbers involved they must have been from a more than one nest. They were making quite a noise chattering away to one another. Some youngsters were still being fed by parents and others busy practising techniques - trying to perfect their flight prowess.

Thursday 15 July 2010

St Swithun's Day

St Swithun's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithun's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain no more
Sorry Folks St Swithun's day is here and it is raining.

Wednesday 14 July 2010


This fearsome looking creature on the reeds of a small pond is the empty skin of a dragonfly nymph. The aquatic larva spends up to 5 years in a pond and eventually crawls out on to a stem. The skin then drys out and the dragonfly emerges from a crack in its back leaving the old body casing more or less intact.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Overgrown Hedges

Field boundary hedges were traditionally laid in winter by partly cutting through upright stems and laying them horizontally.The hedge pictured has not been laid for at least 30 years and you can see the many upright stems growing from a horizontal laid long ago,

Sunday 11 July 2010


The flowers of the bramble are now fading and blackberries starting to form.So far it looks like a good crop of blackberries can be expected soon.

Friday 9 July 2010

White Bryony

We seem to spend a lot of time pulling this little plant out of the garden hedges as it is somewhat invasive but today I stopped and looked more closely and realized it is quite pretty. It is the only native British member of the cucumber family but beware if you grub it up as the roots are toxic and have been reported to kill cattle.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday 6 July 2010

Rose Bay Willow Herb

Now coming into bloom is the Rose Bay Willow Herb sometimes known as Fireweed because of its habit of colonising recently burnt or disturbed ground. It was spread around the country in the days of steam railways when fires on the lineside embankments and cuttings were frequent. Seeds were blown along the line by passing trains.

Monday 5 July 2010

Common Grazing

Traditionally commons are unenclosed areas of land where commoners have rights to graze livestock in the summer.
Many have been enclosed but some survive in the Cotswolds such as this one at Selsey near Stroud
Posted by Picasa

Sunday 4 July 2010

Pyramid Orchid

The Pyramid orchid is one of our smaller orchids and is now in bloom and numerous in unimproved limestone grassland.

Saturday 3 July 2010


Bodging on working with green wood is becoming a popular hobby.
Your authors have only dabbled but there is something very pleasant and relaxing about shaving and shaping green wood.

Friday 2 July 2010


The song of the Skylark as it flies high above the summer grassland is evocative of sunny summer days. In the sky they are not much more than a dot so I have pictured this one on the ground.