Tuesday, 23 August 2011

In praise of Hedgerows as thoughts turn to Autumn

A tapestry of texture and shape, shade and colour, Hedgerows are more than merely borders between fields or edgings for tracks and lanes. A recent walk along a farm track near my home, bordered on both sides by Hedgerows, revealed countless joys; swollen hips ripening on the Briar Rose, twisted trailing tendrils of Bryony twining between the fence wires, the tentative 'tuning-up' twitters of Robins and other small birds, re-emerging after their summer moult. Branches laden with purple bounty; damsons, sloes and the bramble's berries, and closer to the ground between the grass stems, violet tufts of vetch flowers, white sprays of the hedge parsley and yellow splashes of Dandelion, Fleabane and Ragwort.

Each day it seems that another sign of Autumn is slowly creeping round the curtain to take its place on the stage; ripening berries here, a misty morning there, and an increasing number of seed heads, fruit and blustery winds. The mornings and evenings may have a chill in the air and a cloak of dampness but Summer still rules at noon. Hot August sunshine bathes vivid flowers of yellow and purple, warming the bees that buzz in the gardens and coaxing the grasshoppers to sing of their joy in the green fields.

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