It’s after six in the evening and I take myself out to the Glen doing a round. I remind myself to look for the trackline of Irish Spurge I had noticed yesterday marching to the circle on the N facing bank. I go up to the oak and am curious to see boys and not girls at the swing, they are heavy set boys, brothers I guess of about 10 years and wrangling with the ropes, one demanding to be pushed while the other holds him back, they don’t stop to let me pass and I have to ask, they mess around making out to let me by while threatening to let loose at the same time, I tell them I am not amused and walk on firmly by, they laugh and I get mooned. I lstop by a switch of broom and look across the valley for the spurge but I can’t so readily make it out from here. I decide to make my way down and see it from below, the pathway of spurge is quite clear from the gully, somebody’s green footprints. The Council tree dump seems to have been managed, has all the vegetation been pushed back, or I wonder if some has been taken away, I’ve often heard say that the felling is actually logging. I look up and note the two lads I had passed at the swing are now gone.
On the loop home I see a young heron, unusually in the witches Grove…and see he has an audience from the other side too, he is slightly disconcerted by my interest but not enough to move.
Sunday, a morning stroll, it’s still not warm enough to leave the house without a jacket and rain is threatening. I bring a new notebook under my arm thinking I will collect some plants and maybe begin a herbarium (after G) for May/June in the Glen. I meet the humans of Betty, and now Boo (as of yesterday) out walking, Boo is a new rescue dog, a piebald collie type to Betty’s foxy collie version, their parents might range though spaniel or husky to terrier mixes we guess, instant friends they tell me, we chat a while about injections and data breaches. There is a sense we are nearly through the pandemic now but what can it mean for us about the hacking and ransom of the Health and welfare system? what impact could it possibly have on us we vaguely wonder.
I decide I’ll do a whole tour of all corners before breakfast and see how long it will take me. Its not long before I’m distracted. I’ve gone up the zigzag and back down by the road I see an ash tree bedding its way into the moss on the wall, and an oak and a hawthorn all clinging there and this brings me to a closer inspection – down and up and down again, recording the plants and ferns and grasses and mosses.
Common daisy, from ‘day’s eye’ aka bruisewort and woundwort, hart’s/hind’s tongue fern aka Spleenwort, Corn/field/rock/wall Speedwell (Veronica) aka Bird’s eye or Gypsyweed, Herb Robert, aka Stork’sbill Crow’s Foot, Fox Geranium, Death come quickly, Navalwort aka Kidneywort, Pennywort, Penny- pies, Oak, Ash, Maidenhair spleenwort aka Starfish or Thickstorked Spleenwort, Hawthorn, Hoary Willowherb aka Smallflower Hairy willowherb/downy willowherb, Ivy aka English/European/Poet’s Ivy, Schreber’s Big red stem moss, aka Red stemmed feathermoss, Dandelion aka Puffball, Blowball, cankerwort, Irish daisy, Priest’s crown, Annual bluegrass aka meadowgrass/wintergrass/poa/low spear grass, tussock, Broom Forkmoss aka Windswept broom moss, Common Polypody aka Oak polypody, Wall fern, Adder’s fern, Maltese polypody, Tansy Ragwort aka Stinking Willie/Staggerwort/St James-wort, Fringed Willowherb, aka Glandular /Purpleleaved/Slender willowherb, Wood avens aka Herb Bennet/Blessed Herb/City Avens/Colewort/St Benedict’s herb… Is this one Square stalked willowherb or Marsh seedbox aka Water purslane/marsh purslane, Stinging Nettle, Brittle Bladderfern aka Common fragile fern/Green Spleenwort
I am curious about wort and find online from gardeningknowhow.com that Wort is a derivation of the word “wyrt,” an old English word meaning plant, root, or herb. The suffix wort was given to plants which were long considered beneficial. The opposite of a wort was a weed, such as ragweed, knotweed, or milkweed
Ribwort Plantain shooting tall
There are saplings seeding everywhere amongst the undergrowth, needing no help from human hand. I wonder about T the tree and Trees Please planting here, and the Council too, when nature is taking care of itself. Perhaps human encouragement must be for less vigorous species in considered places, and a bit of ground clearing (I’m thinking of the sea of sycamores rising like a tide in the grove behind the wooden bench) The Glen is a place where the most successful species easily find root. Moving along to the avenue to the depot, and the grand lady trees along here, Sycamore, Beech and Birch, There is a long water mark coming the whole way down the trunk from the bowl of the sycamore where the branches part, it marks the trace line of ivy which has been removed, its roots still in place. The twist of the trunk is human, meaty and seductive. From the top I take in the view down lane and see the white triple pronged fork of the beech glowing out from the green shadows. The tarmac here is strewn now with sycamore helicopters, which are succeeding the willows that have fallen in other parts earlier in the month.
I pass over the bridge at the witches grove and here there is a woman at the waterside with a lunchbox, she feels she has to explain, she’s releasing tadpoles into the water but fears they are too exhausted from wherever it is she’s brought them.
The May blossom is now fully in bloom, the Irish spurge expertly carries the rain drops and I duck into the trees to shelter from this May’s April showers, I can’t resist getting up close to a hogweed purse, this time there’s an insect upside down traversing its belly, the shower recedes and the vernal sweetgrass is singing to the sun, the willowherb is making its shape ever strongly upward and I clock the sorbus leaves cupping the sun before another heavy downpour and I find the kippernut here as I shelter under the limes, grown tall and in flower, the vetch is winding and coiling its way through the rising greenery. Nice weather for ducks I spy them through the trees, making ripples on the pond…. and oh dear, I see the bench has suffered for its brazen new coat.
Another shower, and passers by until now speaking in foreign tongue speak now of of wild garlic.The fizz of light rain on the pond surface joins in. As I am filming I become aware of a hovering, and there behind me is A the poet and Fudge. We walk back talking about plans and benches, yesterday she had joked with M the dancer that her scarlet bench had a rival, now it’s murder.