A Cotswold Year - Charting the seasons in the South Cotswolds

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.