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May Diary: Chasing Hawthorns

May Diary: Chasing Hawthorns

Recently, one sunny evening in late May, I took our eldest daughter and our camera on a little adventure. With the promise of ice cream along the way, we climb into the van and set out into the still-bright night. Our mission is simple - to capture the magical Hawthorn trees in bloom. “These days pass quickly” I explain to her “Next week the Hawthorns will be past their best. Now is the time to really enjoy them”. I let her choose the music and we get going…


We pass the camera over and back, taking turns to capture what we see…




Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.

— Gary Snyder



The Hawthorn trees have really put on a spectacular show this year. They need to be acknowledged.


Along the way we spot a single white horse lazing in the front garden of an abandoned old house……and meadows filled with flag irises. The light shines through them.


Later we pull up to watch the swallows overhead, their bodies catch the low sunlight as they dance and swirl.



It is still bright as we drive back home from our adventure. “Do we have to go home?” she asks “We do” I say. “School in the morning!”

And in the fields, young lads in tractors take their first cut of the meadows. Circling around and around they shave away dog daisies and the soft feathery grasses of early Summer. A faint smell of meadowsweet and elderflower hangs in the evening air. May is now behind us, but the adventures of June are yet to unfold.




1.Confused baby birds: This is the month when you might spot newly fledged baby birds. Anxious parents encourage their fluffy youngsters out of their cosy nests and into the big wide world. This is a handy guide if you come upon a fluffy fledgling and are concerned for their welfare.


2. Sea Thrift along rocky shorelines: Now is a good time to admire carpets and clumps of pink thrift swaying in the soft summer sea breeze. Later in July and August, the sun will have bleached the thrift to white. Spot it now to admire it in full colour.


3. Elderflower in bloom: Now is the time to mark the arrival of full summer by gathering elderflowers and making your own cordial. Sure, you can buy it in shops now almost everywhere. But homemade elderflower cordial will always be the most satisfying.


4. Summer Meadows: June is the time that our roadside verges and meadows burst into wildflowers. We love to spot meadowsweet, stitchwort, red and white clover, ragged robin, trefoil, yellow rattle, and wild pyramidal orchids.


5. Rivers and Streams filled with flowering Water Crowfoot: River water crowfoot is a member of the buttercup family that needs a clean, fast-flowing stream with a stony bed, where the water is both alkaline and relatively nutrient-rich, without being polluted by nitrates from run-off. The long stems of Crowfoot produce the most beautiful patterns flowing patterns that call to mind John Everett Millais” “Ophelia”.


6. Day Flying Moths: What’s the difference between a butterfly and a moth? The answer it turns out .. is complicated. One thing we know for sure though is that butterflies have a much better PR team. This month keep an eye out for beautiful day-flying moths such as Leopard moths, White Ermine moths, and Burnet moths, and remind yourself how beautiful and fascinating moths really are.

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