Month FOUR of my photographer’s nature journal.
Oh, to be in England
Now that April’s there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England – now!
~ Robert Browning
I awoke one recent morning to a sky full of bruised black and blue thumbprints and a coral pink smudge on the horizon where the sun was beginning to rise. It was one of those mornings that make you glad to be alive. Later in the day I took my camera for a walk around the lanes to see what surprises nature had in store for me. It wasn’t a particularly warm day, the mini heatwave experienced by the rest of the UK didn’t really happen down here. It rarely does. Too close to two coasts. Instead we were blessed with several days of sea fog, or as I call it a sea fret, but the sun was shining even though the wind was cool. In coconut scented lanes, sheltered by the high hedgerows, it was pleasantly warm. I walked with the sound of birdsong accompanying me until I reached the place where the tall Norfolk pines grow and where the birdsong was momentarily replaced by the wind blowing in the tree canopy sounding like waves crashing to the shore.
I was pleased to find masses of unscented wild dog-violets (Viola riviniana) in the hedgerows and in the walls, the tiny bright blue-violet faces lighting up in amongst the greenery of nettles, cow parsley and wild carrot leaves, dock and foxgloves. Bright yellow patches of dandelions and lesser celandines and newly opening gorse glowed amongst the greenery. The blackthorn was finally flowering, the tiny star-like white flowers shimmering in the sunlight; here and there white Greater or Lesser Stitchworts, bright rose-red flowers of the Red Campion (Silene dioica) and the violet-blue native bluebells brightened up the roadside.
“And glowing in all colours, the live grass, Rose-campion, bluebell, kingcup, poppy, glanced…”
~ Lord Alfred Tennyson, “The Last Tournament”
Fresh buds and leaves were opening on the sycamores and rhododendrons. Cascading flowers hung like dangling ear-rings. Elsewhere pale yellow native primroses (Primula vulgaris) mingled with pale pink cultivars and escapees from gardens. I came across (Lamium galeobdolon ‘Variegatum’ ) golden dead nettles, their silvery veined-leaves looking quite exotic and then a meadow strewn with common daisies and buttercups.
Cutting across the bottom of Trencrom hill to complete my circular walk I found tiny wood anemones hiding in the grass, more dog-violets and plenty of new shoots on the buddleia and honeysuckle shrubs.
It appears that spring has come at last.
The Changing Seasons | April