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!

Saturday, 28 August 2010


This is an autumn feast. It's a no information, just look post.

All the pictures (except for the one of the damsons) are cropped from much larger ones so they aren't clickable. (A crop is as good as a click - but quicker.) I don't know what all of them are even though they all belong to common plants. (This blog, after all, is knee deep in ignorance.)

So here's for a seedy walk in August Dorset.



No relation. For people who are unfamiliar with elderberries, they grown on a tree whereas Ground Elder . . .


with spikes sticking out of its leaves and small, yellow flowers.


There are masses of such around and I wouldn't dare say which one this is.



And there are, of course, more; this is but a sample. Miles and miles of nature being fecund, prolific, colourful, textured and generous. Hurray!

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.