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.

Evening in the garden

My camera insisted on using flash on a bright evening, with some nice results. There is a wild patch under the sycamore tree where red campions are thriving, and also the last few early dog violets.

Peas, hawksbeard and mutant plantains

Many relatives of the pea are flowering now. At Ivybridge station there are two sorts of medick, spotted medick, black medick, and lesser trefoil. Black medick, with dense pompoms of flowers and a tiny point – mucro – on the tip of each leaf: Lesser trefoil, with looser flower heads: Vetches and clover are part of the…

April on Bittaford Road

Early purple orchids are flowering at the junction near Ash Rosettes. Beautiful, but far fewer than last year. Cow parsley, hogweed, and garlic mustard (Jack-by-the-hedge) are giving the verges some height now. An early specimen of red clover, rather chewed.

White Oxen and Zempson

Lots of crosswort in the damp meadows at White Oxen and hedgerows around Zempson. The first early purple orchids are flowering, and the first ragged robin, bugle, buttercups, and yellow pimpernel. Also in flower were lady’s smock, bog stitchwort, cornsalad, primroses, common dog violets, sticky mouse-ear, wavy bittercress, thale cress, daisies, germander speedwell, red dead-nettle and red campions….

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…