Monday 30th March
The first thing I see when I looked out of the bedroom window was a Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) staring intently into my garden pond! There are (were?) a few goldfish in there along with some small newts: a nice breakfast snack!
You can spot him in front of the fake geese which are supposed to keep Herons away!
At the top of the lane on the banks either side of it are some Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) or Horse Parsley, which are now coming into flower.
A member of the carrot family, apparently every part of this plant is edible and brought in by the Romans, presumably for this purpose. The stem is like celery, the leaves can be boiled as a green, the flowers can be used like broccoli, the seeds like a spice and even the root is parsnip like. You have to know what you are looking for though as some members of this family are poisonous!
The books say this is a plant mainly found by the coast as it may not be frost hardy though it seems to do OK where I am some 26 miles away from the sea.
The next plant I have noticed in our alphabet series is Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) which is just coming into flower. A heathland/acid soil specialist with delightful urn-shaped flowers which provide edible berries later in the summer.
Lastly, a delicate woodland flower Common Dog-violet (Viola riviniana) has just started to flower on the banks in the sunlight. They form a colourful little clump which gives a great start to the day!