Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

It's National Walking Month

National Trust walk leaflets for 8 walks around Avebury and Stonehenge

I'm trying something a bit different for May, by starting each day with a 20 minute walk. It's something I've thought of doing for a while, then I found out it's National Walking Month. It's time to stop thinking and start doing!

There's a nice leafy little route through our estate which takes around 25 minutes, so I have the daily satisfaction of beating my 20 minute target*. Around a third of the way is uphill, so it'll be interesting to see how puffed out I get at the end of the month, compared to now.

It may be a familiar route, but I've found some surprises along the way. There are English bluebells along the line of one of the old hedgerows, and I can see a bright red stripy Big Top over at Allington Farm from the top of the hill.

To help ring the changes from my regular route, I've also got details of the National Trust's Stonehenge and Avebury Walking Challenge. This is a series of 8 walks, ranging from 2 to just over 6 miles, or a total of 50 kilometres in metric parlance. It's a good excuse to explore these iconic Wiltshire landscapes from a variety of perspectives and viewpoints.

I have until the end of December to complete these walks, so I have a good incentive to keep going after May.

What's different in your routine this month?

* = 27 minutes on Day 1 and getting faster! It might be spot on 20 minutes by the end of the month...

Sunday, 1 May 2016

GBMD: And the day came...

Bud breaking apple blossom in my garden with an Anais Nin quotation about bud break

With the cold winds and frosty nights we've had lately, I've had to have words with my apples. I've told them their blossom should stay snug and warm for a little while longer.

It seems I've given them the more painful option.

Fingers crossed for the apple harvest...

How's spring faring in your neighbourhood?

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Against the Odds: Primroses

A primrose plant in the old china clay works at Wheal Martyn china clay museum

And in the wood, where often you and I
Upon faint primrose-beds were wont to lie... 

William Shakespeare, in: A Midsummer Night's Dream. As Shakespeare is the man of the moment, so consider the above as my small contribution to the festivities.

Primroses are amongst our favourite spring flowers, especially as they're a native wildflower. It's name is derived from the Latin, prima rosa, meaning the first rose of the year, though it's not a member of the rose family.

Primrose-beds aren't as common as they were in Shakespeare's time due to over picking. Now they're protected by law and I'm always pleased to see a huge bank of them on my way to my allotment at this time of the year. A perennial plant, they can reach maturity in a single year and may self-seed prolifically. It means they can recover well if conditions are right. We found lots of them on holiday in Cornwall too.

A more surprising sight was the pictured plant at Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum. Primroses like moist, clay conditions and judging by the accompanying vegetation, there must be a thin soil amongst the stones, just enough for plants to find a foothold.

The colour of the water is due to china clay particles. Perhaps these get washed into the gaps in the wall when the water is higher, thus allowing the process of soil formation to start.

Another walled primrose at the entrance to the museum

It wasn't a one-off occurrence either. I found these in the wall at the museum's entrance, where there isn't the nearby presence of water and clay to explain how this one gained its delicate foothold.
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