First Flowers

Blackthorn, or it’s fruity relative the Wild Plum, is one of the earliest wildflowers to blossom at Bradlaugh Fields Advertisements

St David’s, Kingsthorpe Mini Fungal Foray

In the meadow next to the golf-course, what is this dear little canary-yellow mushroom, any ideas? LBJ? Looks like sticky desiccated coconut. Myxomycete perhaps?

Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #61 Small Scabious

Small Scabious flourishes especially well in the dry, bare stony soil of the Hills and Hollows where the topsoil was scraped away to give wild-flowers a chance against the aggressive grasses that otherwise dominate where there is no grazing or mowing to remove nutrients. The attractive powder-blue flowers are lightly sweet-scented and a real magnet […]

Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #59 Lesser or Black Knapweed

At this time of year the Hills and Hollows are a golden sea of dry grass with flecks of colourful flowers. Here, in a view towards Spinney Hill, are two vigorous plants of Lesser Knapweed nearly 3 feet high. From a distance looking very like its cousins the Thistles, with purple tufts of flowers which […]

Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #53 Creeping Thistle

It is a mistake to think too badly of this plant as it can bring great benefits to other wildlife, feeding butterflies – Marbled White seen in the photo above – and bees with its nectar as well as nourishing many more on its leaves and stems. With proper management, Creeping Thistle will not get […]

Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #51 Lime Tree or Linden

This large forest tree fills the Midsummer air with delicious fragrance as tens of thousands of creamy yellow flowers attract insects from across a wide area to feast on its abundant nectar. The blossom is traditionally gathered by many people around Europe to prepare the famous Linden or Tilleul tea. If you look closely you […]

National Meadow Day

Originally posted on a new nature blog:
It’s National Meadow Day. I hadn’t noticed until today when I saw this piece on the BBC Earth website. The piece kindly references a report I wrote for Plantlife and the Wildlife Trusts about meadows back in 2002, called “Green Unpleasant Land”. This is still downloadable from the…

Oh! What a Lovely Sward!

Last weekend I visited the East of England Scything Festival, held every year at the amazing National Trust property of Wimpole Hall, hoping to find out more about the use of the scythe for wildlife and conservation meadows. All in all, a very picturesque event in good company at a scenic location … This year […]

Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #45 Bramble or Blackberry

Another plant that really needs little introduction. So competitive and successful is it that, useful though it is, like it’s relative the blackthorn, bramble needs to be constantly kept in check to prevent it completely taking over. There is no end to the wildlife that finds a use for brambles. On the recent meadow walk, […]

Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #42 Stinging Nettle

Nettles are so closely associated in many people’s minds with wildlife that there’s now even a book called “No Nettles Required: the Truth about Wildlife Gardening” reassuring us that there are plenty of ways to be eco-friendly without needing to cover our gardens with stingers! Nevertheless, the common nettle is a very useful plant. In […]