Until July 2017, documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say! Meanwhile . . . I've now moved to Halifax in West Yorkshire. Click on the link below to collect the new URL. Don't forget to follow there!

Sunday, 8 August 2010


It's been a long and arid summer. Plants have been shrivelling back or not appearing. The area round the tree I planned to follow has remained little but bare earth.

I'm not struck much on summer so, when August evening light falls on dried out and seed-bearing plants, and tints them with just a hint of September, I feel a jolt of pleasure.

Here is the context. A hedgerow next to Portland Harbour in Dorset. In the distance, you can see the Purbeck Hills. In the foreground, the tops of Blackberries: acres and acres of blackberries with fruits you can't reach because there are so many thorns in between.

Blackberries (we've been eating the first to ripen, though most are merely on the turn from green to red) . . . and grass. The ordinary kind of grass is sad and tatty because the ground is so hard and dry but pretty wild barleys and oats look perfect when brown. (Deep cream really.)

There are reeds taller than me between the sea and the path but the grasses in the photo are about a foot high.

Teasels are one of the plants we are encouraged to grow for the sake of bio-diversity. I'm not sure if it's for their seeds or because they provide homes for small insects or . . . well, whatever they are for, I like teasels. They are lovely in the verges beside the hedgerow. These ones are short stemmed with small heads; perhaps because the ground is so very dry -  but most years they grow as high, or higher than me and prickley. They're an annoying plant too because they don't produce their . . . can you call it a flower? . . . until the second year. Year one - a flat, ground hugging thing with ugly leaves. Year two - a massive candelabra which takes a lot of space and hurts if you bump into it. None the less . . . I like teasels!

The light's going!

Last year I mentioned how I find it difficult to distinguish between (and name) the yellow flowers which produce 'clocks' for seedheads and come (in my head) under the rough headings of 'like dandelions' or 'like groundsel'. Here's a 'like Groundsel' plant. It's the kind of thing I would like to call 'a weed' rather than 'a wild plant'. Dandelions can be 'wild flowers' (because I like them!).Going back to check on what I'd said, I was disconcerted to see how many plants  last November were roughly at the same stage of life as they are now, in August. The post before the 2009 November one,  had parallels too . . .

. . . though the Old Man's Beard (Wild Clematis) is mostly still in flower here as I write. (That's a digression.)

Low growing white, umbelliferous plants (of another family where I can't tell  twixt or tween).

I like the seed-heads here much more than the flowers.

And, finally, haws. They don't seem to be too happy in a place that is in shadow for most of the day and  where the air is hot and mostly unmoving - there's a white mould forming. Not very Christmassy . . . oh! . . .

. . . But, then, our local shop has stopped selling flowerpots already. It needs the space for Christmas goods.


Sunita Mohan said...

Such beautiful photos, Lucy!The haws look very Christmassy to my tropical eyes.

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...


How lovely to hear from you!

I've been very remiss about keeping up with blogging friends recently. Very busy, computer troubles and the internet plays up for large parts of the day too.

I'm hoping to have a new laptop soon. Having more power will help a lot and I'll get back to reading lots of blogs again.

Isn't it funny how smooth red berries make us think of Christmas? These will probably have withered by then and replaced by holly ones. It's the mould which makes them less festive. (Though this may not be obvious unless you click.)

Hope you are well.


Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I like fall, always have done. I like native grasses and wildflowers. I do sometimes get all the yellow flowers growing in my head mixed up, too. I also like teasels. But not thistles. Which people sometimes mistake teasels for.

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

I like the flowers of thistles a lot but the leaves are dreary when dying back. Last year, the thistle down near me was so profuse it hung in the bushes as if someone had tipped out a pillowcase of fluff. I didn't like that either. Teasels are very self contained, warmly coloured and, at least historically, useful.


Pat Tillett said...

I smiled when I saw the link to your post on my dashboard just now!

It's so nice to see your photos and read your words...


Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Pat - and I smile when I see you have left a comment!


Diana Studer said...

You're back. Roll on your new laptop, and more pictures ;>)

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Hello Diana.

Am only vaguely back because the laptop and internet between them make blogging very slow. I start a picture to load - then go off and do various household things while it does so. I've been using Twitter a lot instead. That keeps me in touch with some bloggers and I can slip in tweets between the ups and downs.

'Roll on the new laptop' here here. (Choosing one is a challenge! It has to be 'right' because it will have to last for several years.)


Jennifer said...

Great pictures! ( I love your header too!) I love the grasses that shine in the last days of summer.

Rosie@leavesnbloom said...

We've lots of teasel growing in the Castle gardens here - I've never grown it in my garden yet. We've been eating the wild raspberries here as our blackberries are not ripe yet.

Thats a beautiful sea scene Lucy.

:) Rosie

easygardener said...

Some plants in my garden are looking brown and crispy too - my soil is like sand and any rain seems to evaporate very quickly.
I am battling with Wild Clematis on my allotment fence - the flowers are lovely but the plant itself seems intent on world domination (well allotment domination!)

Meredith said...

Sounds like your wild plants are well ahead of schedule, if the August photos are matching last November's! A bit worrisome, actually.

After seeing their portrait, I think I like Teasels, too. It's my first exposure to them, but they look so lovely and charming. The unidentified umbelliferous plant looks like what we here call Queen Anne's Lace, or wild carrot, Daucus carota. But probably not, seeing as we're on different continents...

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Thanks Jennifer.

The Viper's Bugloss header was part of a post I never wrote but I didn't want to miss using it, it is such a pretty plant.

That header has gone now (August 28th)and has been replaced with a little yellow clematis flower with a row of its seedpods. The Viper's Bugloss turns grey as it dies back and is now tatty and old. I tried taking photos of it with its seeds for the next post - and failed. The seeds are very little and held in upright flutes so they can only be seen well from the top looking down . . . just couldn't get them in focus.


Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Rosie - how wonderful to have wild raspberries! We don't have any near where I live. We don't even have wild strawberries - though some Dorset hedgerows do.


Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Hello Easy Gardener.

Wild Clematis does seem to have its eye on taking over everything - though it does die back and is then easy to pull away from the fences and plants it has laced itself into.


Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Hello Meredith.

I don't think the plant with the white umbrells is Queen Anne's Lace because it isn't that tall and the little tiny flowers are too densely packed and it isn't as pretty. You aren't the only one to suggest it though so maybe I'm wrong. I don't know anyone locally I can ask so, until I can be definite about what it is . . . I'll remain vague.

None the less, I appreciate the suggestion. For one thing, it lets me know Queen Anne's Lace isn't a specially English flower even though it is very common (and much appreciated) here.