10.25 a.m., cumulo stratus 80%, 59°F, 15°C, back garden.
The perennial cornflower was originally a plant I introduced from my mum’s large, leafy and well-stocked garden. It has settled in well, scattering its seeds along our border. I’m sure that we never planted it at this end, by the corner of the patio next to the bird bath. There’s often a blackbird or sometimes a sparrow sitting on the edge of the patio here and I guess that’s how it found it’s way here, in a bird dropping. It also spreads via creeping rhizome.
As its scientific name, Centaurea montana, suggests, it’s a plant of subalpine meadows and open woodland in Europe, ranging from the Ardennes the Pyrenees and in the east as far as the Balkans.
We’ve had more colour in the border this autumn than we had in the summer. The pot marigold, Calendula, which we planted a year or two ago at this end of the border has spread across the back garden, popping up in the veg beds and in the greenhouse.
As it flies – ‘as the crow flies’, in a straight line – this carrion crow makes a call that I describe as ‘Tchuik! Tuikk! Twik!’ in my sketch: not the harsh, croaking ‘Caw! Caw! Caw! Caw!’ that I associate with crows. The Handbook of British Birds describes this call as ‘a higher-pitched, complaining “keerk, keerk, keerk”.
I hear the regular ‘caw’ half an hour later after a commotion with the local magpies at the edge of the wood, which have been making their chattering rattling calls in the tall ash trees.
The sparrows chirping in the hedge are a more homely soundtrack for my drawing. It’s feels like a treat to be out of doors drawing from nature again.