Anemone nemorosa growing in Dole Woods, Thurlby, Lincolnshire
I promised to describe the promiscuous sexual activity going on in my undergrowth - or rather my garden's undergrowth, whoops, pardon missis!! Ahem Ahem! And I will keep that promise - I absolutely promise. But for today, something completely different. (Cue the military band playing the Monty Python theme which, friends over on the western side of the puddle will recognise as a Sousa march - I think, The Liberty Bell.)
Today, though, I just want to show you some pictures.
I'm conducting one of the gardening courses at Coton Manor, later this month and wanted to enrich my collection of woodland pictures, since this year's topic is to be woodland gardening. So armed with a camera, I wanted to head for the woods, anyway.
But my motivation was sharpened last Friday, when I attended a fascinating lecture entitled The Nature of Dole Wood. The speaker, an erudite and dedicated lady, described the natural history of the whole parish, but with particular emphasis on Dole Wood, a fragment of ancient woodland just south of Bourne, Lincolnshire.
Anyway. Work had gone well this morning and the threatened break in the weather was yet to arrive, so off we went for a walk in the woods. As so often before, I had completely overlooked and underestimated the value of such a natural gem on our doorstep - or at least, a mere 5 miles from home.
The pictures, I hope, will tell the tale. Chiffchaffs, great tits, and robins were singing, as we explored; long tailed tits were doing acrobats, there were many bumble bees and the woodland
floor was awash with a full spring tide of Anemone nemorosa among other lovely spring wildflowers.
Wood anemone, A. nemorosa. A favourite native plant, always bringing back happy memories of childhood, when seen. My mother would take me and my little brother for picnic teas in the local woods, in spring and summer. We would gather bunches of primroses or bluebells to bring home. Everyone did, in those days, even though the act might seem anti-conservation these days.
Some vandal has planted these digusting garden objects in a piece of otherwise unsullied ancient woodland. Out of scale, out of kilter and bang out of order! Lovely in cultivation, they may be - but not at all welcome in the wild.
Blackthorn, Prunus spinosa in full bloom.
A badgers' sett. Surprisingly, they haven't polished off last autumn's fallen fruit, see below. . .
Remarkable keeping qualities, fallen wild crabs, still almost edible.
Vandalism - or is it an artistic expresiion? Either way, this was the only example in the wood.
Scads of wild primroses, wherever light levels are a tad higher, especially at the edges of the wood.
Bluebells just on their way - taking over from the anemones and full of promise.
I'm listening to those chiffchaffs, with my aural memory and hoping to hear the first cuckoo any day now.
I'm planning to watch the queenly but erudite David Starkey talking about Henry Vlll's childhood.
This time last year I was suffering from shingles. I don't recommend it. I really, really don't.
Get yourself off to the woods! You cannot help but love them. Enjoy!