walking along the edge of the wheat next to the wood is something of an expedition now, requiring thick trousers and shirt or jacket to keep off the nettles, and to prevent thin-skinned Tilda from getting stung, much sideways trampling. you can see where the big red deer I glimpsed the other night have been making themselves at home, and the signs of roe coming and going between the wood and the field are there, in the parting of long grass and bramble, and the bare earth under raked by their hooves scrabbling to get a purchase on the edge of the ditch.
the hedges and the edges of the wood are full of this hedge woundwort now, competing with the nettles and goose grass.
where the grass predominates there are clumps of blue tufted vetch climbing up through mares tails.
and in the old water meadow the orchids are out. this should be common spotted orchid, except the leaves are not spotted. its in the right habitat, wet pastures, fens and damp woods on basic soil. native and locally frequent, according to Dr C P Petch and E L Swan’s Flora of Norfolk, which I have most kindly been lent. dactylorhiza fuchsii.
even without spots there is nothing else it could be. the meadow sweet is coming into flower anywhere damp, but particularly in this meadow.
another time I will try to distinguish all the grasses. the hogweed is beginning to dominate hedgerows now, its thick juicy stems growing inches in a day, and the umbel flowers opening into plate-sized discs. it is a very decorative plant in its way, though coarse. its scale is too big for my wild flower garden, and I am trying to eradicate it, though with little success.
the lime trees along the verge of Sharrington Road are all in flower, delightful bunches of little sticky green balls hanging off every twig. I should gather them to make lime-flower tea.