Early autumn is a great time to hunt for fungi, so I have spent some time searching for the most atmospheric of all, red and white spotted toadstools, in all the likely and less likely places I could think of near where I live. As often happens, when I was not searching, I glanced up and had the thrill of seeing twenty or thirty of them growing on a hillside in a narrow strip of mixed, light woodland on the edge of peaty moorland.
Toadstools are the fruiting bodies of underground mycelial networks. Happy to return to earth, they emerge only briefly after a rain, swelling rapidly to full size then rotting back after releasing spores from white gills on the undersides of their caps.
While your eye may naturally pick out the flowers, when I was face-to-face with this memorable landscape, I marvelled at that long, structured wall of tree trunks and re-purposed construction materials in the background. The fauna wall was by far the biggest insect hotel I’d ever seen.
I almost missed out on the week of flowers, hosted by Cathy of Words and Herbs, but am scraping in with this froth of wildflowers for day 7. The pink, raindrop-covered flower is corncockle, which is now vanishingly rare in the wild in Britain but still appears in annual wildflower mixes. Continue reading “Corncockle in a Wildflower Border”
The longer we linger in gardens and green spaces, the more we value a place to sit. Over the last 18 months one of our most useful garden accessories, the bench, has been widely used and appreciated as never before.
I’m celebrating wooden benches that range in character from beautifully finished to rough-hewn and from classic to contemporary, by way of quirky and downright artsy. If your imagination works this way, try removing the bench from one pictures and replacing it with another. Garden furniture is more than just practical: the style of each bench alters the way we see its surroundings. Continue reading “Wooden Garden Benches: Smooth and Rough-Hewn, Traditional and Modern”
Bluebells woods have a mysterious air. To get the full effect, you have to imagine everything moving in the lightest breeze, bees humming in the bells, birds singing as they attend their nests, and the odd grey squirrel bouncing around.