All change


Surely it cannot be all change just yet? And I do not mean the political situation I mean the season. We are hardly into our summer holidays, but the signs are there. Only yesterday my Yorkshire cousins told me that their barley harvest will be starting soon. And I see that the berries are ripening on my mountain ash and the blackbirds are already there with greed in their eyes.

In the garden our cherries are ready as are the blueberries, they are gleaming temptingly on our breakfast table every morning. Our bowls are overflowing with bright fruit. The signs of subtle season change are coming whether we are ready or not.

The grass in Oak Meadow is changing from lush green to tall yellow drying seed heads in the wind. The farmers are changing from silage making to hay bales. But Oak Meadow is full of creatures and will be left untouched for many weeks. I walked the path today, ahead of me grasshoppers jumped and I could hear their calls. The males are clicking their song, to attract females, with serrated legs rubbing against their wings.

The butterflies I saw were all brown. The floppy meadow-brown with its big wings flew low from one purple flowered knapweed to another. I saw the dark ringlet butterfly too. It hides in the shadow near the north facing hedge. There are no bright reds yet jewelling the borders.

But one very bright object is our hanging basket. I have never been a big fan of these baskets I think of them in towns trying to compete for Britain in Bloom, and not in our free flowing, go-as-you-will, garden. But this year was different – isn’t everything these days? We weakened and bought a hanging basket with its formulaic arrangement from a garden centre. It is not even a basket it is a plastic pot with three plastic strands and a hook at the tip. How could we?

I remember when I bought my first house, I decided that I needed a hanging basket. Off I went to the garden centre in Shrewsbury. But in those days, you mostly bought the basket separately, then the moss in a bag and then you selected the individual plants. I was at a loss until a man with a pipe in his mouth and his shirt sleeves rolled up came to help. In no time at all I was kitted out and went home triumphant.

It was only later as I marvelled at the bountiful beautiful basket that I realised it was Percy Thrower himself who had helped me. I am not sure that this could happen so unobtrusively these days.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)

When did you last see a grasshopper? I saw this one one our house wall.


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