Sunshine continues to dictate my daily programme. A field walk was definitely indicated, with the excuse that I wanted to see how our crop of spring-sown field beans was coming on in the Eastwood. This is a first time crop for us and has been sown in order to comply with the current obligation to sow a third crop as part of the greening scheme. The beans are coming through well, though, dare I say it, a little rain would be welcome to speed up growth. Rapid growth helps to reduce damage from insects and also from pigeons. Sometimes it is hard to decide what affects farming to the greatest extent - weather, prices or politics. As we can’t change any of them we just have to get on with it.
By now the hedges are awash with blossom, much of it blackthorn which bodes well for those who like to pick sloes in the autumn to make sloe gin. The blossom appears before the leaves so it makes a spectacular show. However, handle it with care as a thorn in the finger can lead to a very nasty septic infection. The wild cherry on the edge of the dumble is at its best now while the ground is carpeted with bluebells, celandines and wood anemones where I also saw several species of bumble bee, a peacock, a large tortoiseshell and an orange tipped white butterfly. As a general observation I was reminded of the old saying, “Ash before oak, we’re in for a soak, oak before ash, we’re in for a splash”. From what I have seen this should be a “splash” year. We shall just have to wait and see.
I gave myself a day off earlier this week. If gardens are your thing, I would warmly recommend Trentham Gardens, near Stoke-on-Trent, for a day out. The gardens are extensive, well laid out and with brief information panels in the various flower beds and points of interest. I hope to visit again at different times of the year. I should also mention that, for those whose interest in plants is limited the range and quality of shops in the retail centre provide a pleasant alternative attraction.
In my own garden the friendly robin was quick to spot me planting potatoes and wasted no time pouncing on the worms I dug up. I felt a bit sorry about the worms; after all, they are a sign that the soil is healthy. I suppose that, with the dry weather they have gone a bit deeper and are harder to find, but Robin was clearly hungry, so I could not really begrudge him his gourmet dinner.