Into the woods

Primroses and bluebells in Penstave Woods.        An impressive Drinker moth caterpillar on the verge of Bittaford Road. Note the ‘horns’ of hair at either end. The moth drinks dew. Also the first early purple orchid. I’m fascinated by these mutant plants. They seem to be quite common along this stretch of road. Could traffic…

Spring at last!

There’s a dazzling display of dandelions, interspersed with lady’s smock, at the turning to Ivybridge station. The stitchwort is out in the hedgerows at last, with wood sorrel in shady spots. The first bluebells and buds of yellow archangel are showing in Penstave woods. There are newts in our pond again too.

April sunshine

The burst of sunshine over the weekend has brought out some new flowers along Bittaford Road, including the first delicate lady’s smock. There was a clump of greater chickweed. It was hard to do it justice with my phone camera but you can see the 10 stamens – each purple blob is a pair – that distinguish it…


In the garden, a tiny specimen of common ramping fumitory, some lady’s smock and yellow rattle that we planted to kick-start a wild flower patch by parasitising the lawn. There are five species of speedwell: germander, wall, thyme-leaved, ivy-leaved, and slender speedwell. Other flowers thrive through lack of weeding rather than by design. Common cow-wheat in woods in South Brent

mid-May sunshine

Greater celandine has appeared this month, a relative of the Welsh poppy and not of lesser celandine. It is named after the Greek ‘chelidon’ or swallow, as it flowers when the swallows arrive. The bright orange sap is said to cure warts and for this reason, greater celandine was often planted around the walls and gateways of houses, where indeed it is still…