Six on Saturday. Enjoy your Bank Holiday Weekend Everyone. Home is where I’m spending mine.

I often share views through the gap in the hedge. It’s a window on the changing seasons. Today, I thought you might like to see what’s growing in the hedgerow around my ‘window.”

Hawthorn. Crataegus monogyna. Berries are ripening fast. It seems too soon. It feels as if it’s only a short while since snowy white May blossom heralded the end of winter. And here we are, it’s harvest time. It’s a good year for berries. A larder for the wildlife. Hawthorn supports more than 300 species of insect. Flowers are eaten by dormice, and berries called ‘haws’ are rich in antioxidants and eaten by migrating birds such as redwings.

Hazel. Corylus avellana. Again, I feel it’s only a while since I posted photos of ‘lambs tail’ catkins. It’s a good year for nuts. Our garden is ‘raining’ hazel nuts. Even the squirrels can’t keep up with the crop, which is really saying something as their appetites are legendary. I’m often gathering them as fast as I can, while five or six brazen squirrels, adults and this year’s babies, bound across the top of the hedgerow. Multiple holes in the lawn show evidence of where they have ‘hidden’ their harvest. I hope they remember where they’ve left them. Hazel leaves are good for the caterpillars of many moths including the large emerald, small white, barred, umber and nut tree tussock.

The dormouse eats hazel nuts to fatten up for hibernation, and also eats caterpillars in the spring. Nuts are also eaten by woodpeckers, nuthatches, tits, wood pigeons, and jays. We’ve had an adult and baby green woodpecker in our garden all summer. It’s been fascinating watching the adult showing the baby where all the best spots are for food- the rotten wood pile, orchard and patch of grass where chafer grubs thrive.

Field Maple. Acer campestre. Winged seeds are turning red. They will soon be dispersed by the wind. And it can get very windy up here on the ridgeway. I really should have consulted an ordnance survey map before moving here. Gardening is a challenge in gale force winds. Next time, I’d like a nice secluded walled garden, please. Everyone reading this, knows there will not be a next time. I love this wild and peaceful place. I will never move from here.

The Woodland Trust tells me that maple leaves are eaten by several moths, the sycamore moth, small yellow wave, mocha, and the maple prominent, among others. Moths are on the decline so it is a good plant to have in any garden or hedgerow. We have some grown as trees, as well as mixed in the hedge.

Flowers provide nectar and pollen for bees and birds, and small mammals eat the fruit.

This hedgerow is full of dogwood. Cornus sanguinea. Stems and leaves turns a rich burgundy in winter. A wonderful sight on a cold day. Leaves are already starting to take on polished and burnished tints. Green berries will soon turn black.

Leaves are eaten by moths, including the case-bearer moth. Flowers are valuable for insects, and berries are eaten by birds and small mammals. We enjoy standing and watching bats flitting over the hedgerows at night- catching the moths and flying insects. They seem to follow a repeated circuit, a figure of eight, over our heads. You can almost anticipate where they will be seen next. A joyful way to spend a few minutes, or longer if time allows. Owls fly in across the fields to take the small mammals- mice, rats and field voles. We have little owls, tawny and barn owls here. It can be quite noisy some nights, when they call out across deserted fields. The sound carries. We stand quietly and listen.

Crab Apple. Malus sylvestris. Abundant this year. Leaves are valuable for the eyed hawk moth, green pug, Chinese character and pale tussock. Wonderful names that conjure up all kinds of pictures in my mind. I decide to learn more about moths.

Fruit is eaten by blackbirds, thrushes and crows, and also mice and voles. Foxes and badgers forage in ditches for them. When fruit ripens and falls it seems to ‘cook’ gently in the heat. It’s a fabulous scent and always reminds me of apple pie and crumbles.

I read somewhere that you can measure the age of a hedge by the number of different plants growing in it. Apparently, it’s approximately 100 years for each variety. Looking around, I know that farming has been here since medieval times. There are ridge and furrow fields across from our garden and also half way to the village. They are particularly noticeable when fields flood. Furrows pool with water, while the ridges stay high and dry. You can just wonder and imagine how they grew their crops using hand tools, without the aid of machines.

Speaking of machines, the sound right now is combine harvesters north and south. To the west and east, there’s the monotonous chug, chug, chug of bailing machine. Soon there will be ploughing, and the growing season starts all over again.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my view through the gap. I didn’t make the gap, nature did. But I look through it each day to spy the changes, and sometimes there’s hares, pheasants, fox cubs, all unaware that I’m watching.

Links : New hedging plants for my garden come from Hopes Grove Nursery, a family business in Tenterden. They supply ‘hedge-in-a-box collections for wildlife, cutflowers, gin making. Their latest collection is a horse-friendly range, suitable for field boundaries.

https://www.hopesgrovenurseries.co.uk/shop/mixed-native/horse-friendly-hedge-mix-mixed-native/

Woodland Trust: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/

Barn Owl Trust https://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/barn-owl-nestbox/owl-boxes-for-trees/

38 thoughts on “Six on Saturday. Enjoy your Bank Holiday Weekend Everyone. Home is where I’m spending mine.

  1. Sounds idyllic! So much wildlife around you. And I wish I had looked into how windy it is where I moved to, as wind and rain can certainly be challenging in an exposed site. It does seem very autumnal already and like you say seems only a few weeks since spring sprang!

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  2. D > Such lovely photos of trees and their diverse fruits! Our decision to go further in the direction of ‘Re-Wilding’ feels ever more the right thing to do – J and I look forward to being able to take photos like yours – which are photographed by pointing the camera UP !!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Good luck with your photography. Mine is just a camera phone. For every 20 pics I take, one turns out to be in focus and facing the right way! All the best. Karen x

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  3. Hi, Karen

    Hopes Grove Nursery looks interesting. I’ve signed up for their brochure & newsletter. Could be helpful for our French garden!

    Sharon

    Roger and Sharon Moncur

    34 Luxford Way, Billingshurst, West Sussex, RH14 9PA, UK

    2 Les Vinsonneaux, 33580 Taillecavat, France

    sharon@professionalproject.com | roger.moncur@se.com

    Roger +44 (0) 7970 266273 | Sharon +44 (0) 7968 843117 | UK landline 01403 780328 (no answerphone)

    https://renaissancegardener.org/

    Please do not copy this email or attachments, or divulge their contents, to anyone else without our permission

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  4. So interesting and informative about native hedgerows! We planted one along a stretch of our boundary, for the millennium. It contains most of the species you highlighted- dogwood, hawthorn, hazel, field maple, along with dog roses and sloes. Now it’s a mammoth task to keep it in check, after 19 years, but you have heartened me, when I’m tackling it, by knowing just how good for the environment and wildlife it is. Makes all the scratches worth while!

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    • Thank you! Yes, there are many scratches, thorns and insects trying to ‘get’ us. One of our hedgerows is as tall as a house and the dog roses cascade down like a red river at the moment. So many rosehips. Food for the birds. Good luck with your hedgerow. You are making a difference.

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  5. You got some excellent ones too! All six are uncommon here. We have our own versions of some of them. The North American maples happen to be my favorite of trees. I would like to grow an American hawthorn for the berries, but they are very uncommon here. There is a native hazel, but it makes only a few tiny nuts that the squirrels take. I could go on.

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    • Thank you. I wish you could see them stealing the plums from the tops of the trees. They are like a circus act on high wires, such balance and the giant leaps from hedge to tree. I let them have to top fruit, and I have the plums from the branches that hang down. There enough for everyone. Thanks for reading.

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  6. My post today (not a Six) detailed the various comings and going’s captures by our garden camera, but now I feel inadequate 😂. You have so much wildlife – how wonderful! I acquired a dogwood plant this year but it’s still teeny – hopefully it’ll grow and multiply. Great Six today.

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    • Thank you. I’m just catching up on the reading. I spend every Sunday with my Mum and we go garden visiting.only get round to reading on Mondays. Just in time for In a Vase on Monday. Do you follow that meme?

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    • Thank you Cathy. Hope you are enjoying the weekend. I spent the day pottering about. But if pruning here and there, cleaning out the potting shed. It was in a state! Mustn’t let it get so untidy again! x

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    • I think if there’s no space, an alder buckthorn shrub – even in a pot- would be my choice as it supports butterflies. This year I’m trialling growing a mini wildflower meadow in two troughs. So far it’s been really effective, and a joy to watch develop. All kinds of insects, bees, butterflies have visited it.All the best with your gardening 🙂

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  7. Such a lovely view Karen. Your garden and the countryside around sounds like a little haven for nature. Looking forward to seeing you and will give you a ring in a day or two. Family party here Sunday for my Dad’s 86th! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. GREAT POST AND PHOTOS! I like hearing the Barred Owls at night here. The male will call from a distance then the female answers back. When he gets to the nest they really carry on. There is always a lot going on in nature around the fence rows and boundaries where trees and other plants grow. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Do you think your hedge might be an enclosure hedge? ca later 1700s? Just a thought. I have a little paddock which has an enclosure hedge that hasn’t been maintained as one. most of it is at least 20ft tall. According to the deeds it is ours with hedge and ditch.

    We have a parish boundary at the end of our garden, but alas someone (the neighbouring farmer?) has removed it. I need to walk the boundary to see if any hedge remains.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hedges have a habit of regenerating, even when they are cut back. We watched the farmer laying one last year, leaving only a sliver attached. It’s grown into a good thick hedge. Looking at the roots of ours, it’s very old. It’s under the shade of 300 year old oak tree. There’s wild roses growing up the trunk.

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