Into the Woods April
The weather this April has been amazing. Unfortunately, we are all still on lockdown in the UK so are limited in travelling so have to go into our gardens or walk locally to appreciate the warmth and the sun!
Fortunately, you don’t have to go very far to see nature really waking up after the winter, and to realise spring is here.
If you have a garden you will have noticed insects are around, bees, beetles and flies of all types and sizes. The birds are singing and gathering materials for their nests. Plants such as daffodils, that flower in early spring are mostly over but the tulips will be glorious for the rest of the month.
In the woods spring flowers are in full bloom. Forget-me-nots, celandine, herb Robert, wood anemone and garlic mustard are out. I spotted this delicate sweet purple violet along a shady bank while out walking.
If you have a local park the wild garlic will be flowering now. You will smell it before you see it and then it will carpet the woodland floor. Bluebell leaves are coming up now too, ready to start blooming at the end of the month to be in their full glory in May.
Fruit trees such as cherry and apple are also coming into blossom. One of my favourite spots to walk is through this apple arch. It is especially lovely when the blossom is out and as you walk under you are snowed on by gently falling blossom petals. Beautiful! The hawthorn blossom is coming out as well and I noticed the horse chestnut flowers getting ready to bloom later in the spring. It really does feel like everything is ready to burst out soon.
My bird watching friends have already spotted swallows coming here to breed which is always amazing. I have pigeons roosting in a tree and have spotted robins, blackbirds, wrens, blue and great tits and chattering sparrows all singly loudly as they search for a mate or protect their patch. The dawn chorus is louder and sound joyous, if you are up early enough to hear it. I haven’t seen any ducklings yet, but they should be around in April. There are swans nesting in the local river so signets should be around soon.
I have seen rabbits munching on grass and squirrels rushing around out of hibernation – and on my bird feeder!
If you hear a strange sound at night, something between an owl’s screech and a cat yowling it will be foxes mating calls. Very noisy and very strange.
While walking in the woods near where I pick up our vegetable box, I came across this beautiful red and gold tree, not sure what it is but it looks like it is ready for autumn rather than spring!
Then round another corner and there was this amazing bold rhododendron tree. Being out in the countryside and nature makes being under lockdown much more bearable. I feel so lucky to have all this on my doorstep, but I must admit it would be nice to go and walk somewhere different!
When I went out again later in April the woods looked very different to the start of the month. Cow parley is now almost a metre high and covering much of the undergrowth. Alongside this is masses of garlic mustard. Both these are edible, but the cow parsley can easily be mistaken for other plants in the same family, the carrot family, which are deadly poisonous. So unless you know your stuff stick to the garlic mustard which is easy to identify.
I love this time of year; it helps that my birthday is at the end of April. Not that I did anything much this year but a local walk. One good thing about this lockdown is that I have explored my local area much more and really appreciate how wonderful it is.