Despite the continued cool, wet, mostly dull weather, it is High Summer now, and the Common is covered with lush vegetation. Everywhere you look there is Bracken:
Nettles are plentiful too, and are at the flowering stage.
Bracken and Nettles. Are you (like me) thinking "Plant food"? In times gone by the Common was literally a place of common ownership, where people with no land of their own could go and get stuff they needed - like firewood, bracken (used as bedding for animals), acorns for their pigs, nuts and berries to eat and make into drinks - and a place to graze their cows. These days I think cutting bracken or firewood on our Common might be frowned upon, but we still have cows grazing on it, even if they are not privately owned!
I was surprised to see that despite the abundance of fresh green grass, many of the cows were grazing on Holly. I would have thought that would be a last resort!
It may now be July, but the Common is still very wet and boggy.
At the rate things are going the ground may not dry out fully before Autumn comes!
I wonder how many readers will recognise this plant:
It is Mirica gale, Bog-Myrtle. As you can guess from its name, it thrives in boggy conditions. There is a lot of it on Velmead Common.
If you know this plant, you'll probably be able to imagine its smell - pungent, aromatic, distinctive but not unpleasant.
There were though some unpleasant things to be seen. 2016 seems to be the Year of The Slug, and there was plenty of evidence of their activities:
|Slug damage on Hogweed|
Here I have caught a slug in the act of devouring a fungus. You can see it halfway up the stalk / shank of the fungus.
Look at this - the hole in the centre of the photo is where another fungus used to be. All that remains are the slime trails!
While we're on the subject of unpleasant things, what about this?
It's a bag of dog-poo hung on the barbed wire next to one of the gates in the perimeter fence. Unfortunately I see this sort of thing a lot. Dog-owners are obliged to pick up their dog's faeces and dispose of them. Bins are provided. However, some people just chuck the bagged waste into the bushes, or leave it on the fence! Why??? Laziness and contempt for other people is the probable answer. Whatever the reason, it's a very anti-social practice and I wish it would stop!
Ending on a brighter note, here are a couple of photos of flowers I saw:
|Potentilla Erecta, aka Tormentil|
|Agrimony - Agrimonia Eupatoria|
|Dog-Rose (complete with Pollen Beetle)|