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No Yeti Yet

Rhododendron

Rhododendron

Our current home is the top floor of a converted barn. Below us, the barn remains unconverted. The building is built into the hillside, so while our front door leads into a small lobby with stairs up to the main rooms of our home, the back door leads straight out to ground level a good way up the hill. From the back door you step onto a small flat-ish area of lawn surrounded by trees and bushes of various cultivated varieties. Behind that, the steeply rising ground is the home of oak, holly and the occasional beech tree with, at this time of year, a carpet of daffodils.

Both the woods and the garden shrubbery are old established, possibly over a hundred years in the case of the woods. Over time, the shrubbery has climbed steadily up the hill and the woods have edged their way slowly downwards. Now, that terror of the spelling bee – the rhododendron, is from the Himalayas. For them, a steep incline is no deterrent. It seems to me that what is needed to keep them in check is some Himalayan local fauna. Honey made from the rhododendron pollen is toxic to humans. As anything with any semblance of human form is automatically drawn to consume everything that doesn’t actually kill them very often, and lacking any clear evidence to the contrary, I feel justified in assuming that that denizen of desolation, the Yeti, must exist on a diet of rhododendron flowers.

We’re hoping he’ll pose for a photo when he turns up – watch this space.

Greater Stitchwort

Greater Stitchwort

Greater Stitchwort

Suddenly there are flowers everywhere. They all seem to be in a hurry to catch up with the growing season. I hope they aren’t jumping the gun, there aren’t that many bees and the like about yet. We have seen a few bumble-type bees and some of the smaller things that look like a cross between a fly and a bee, oh, and a couple of butterflies – but not enough to get round all the daffodils, celandines and dandelions that have exploded out of the road verges in the last few weeks.

This is Greater Stitchwort. Now that it has its flowers you can see that it isn’t just a stalk of grass. It is apparently, edible, although there doesn’t seem enough of it to make a meal.

The name Stitchwort comes from its use to treat a ‘stitch’ (in the side, as against in time) in the olden days. It is Greater Stitchwort because it has a cousin with smaller flowers.

It is also known as ‘Dead Man’s Bones’ because it has such a brittle stem. It tends to grow in amongst grass and other plants, as they give it some support. It particularly likes the verge of woods and the edge of hedges for the shelter they afford.

We must keep a lookout for the Lesser Stitchwort – and tell it that we’ve seen its big brother.

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