1.50 p.m., looking east, cold wind from southwest, 40ºF, 5ºC: From medieval times, villagers had the right to graze their animals on Stocksmoor Common but, since grazing ceased there, silver birch and other trees have spread. In order to preserve the now rare habitat of unploughed, unimproved acid grassland, the Yorkshire Naturalists’ Trust has in recent years […]

Chickweed, Groundsel and Foxglove

These lush weeds grow in a corner of the cold frame. As I draw, there’s a confrontation between two pairs of magpies with a lot of irate clacking. They meet on our chimney and two of the rivals lock feet together and roll down the roof tiles. The dispute moves on to the next door neighbour’s […]

Weeds in a Square Metre

Using Roger Phillips’ Weeds, a photographic guide to identify garden and field weeds, I’ve identified a dozen species springing up on the raised veg bed at the end of the garden. Forget-me-not and bush vetch didn’t get included in my short YouTube video. Look out for the guest appearance by a tiny slug, ready and waiting […]

Mouse Ear of the Fields

Common or field forget-me-not has hairy leaves, hence its Latin name, Myosotis arvensis, which translates as ‘mouse ear of the fields’. Hairy bittercress, Cardamine hirsuta, reminds me of a small version of lady’s smock, Cardamine pratense. It’s one of the earliest of weeds to flower and one plant can produce 50,000 seeds. I always think of groundsel, Senecio vulgaris, […]