Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Around the Village

Today I criss-crossed the village looking for signs of spring but, despite glorious sunshine, not a lot caught my attention. In the Pocket Park a surprising number of Sepsid flies (in this case Sepsis fulgens) were on the wing and a Blowfly basking on a leaf turned out to be Calliphora vicina. There was little to get excited about.

My walk took me down Westhorpe Lane, arguably the prettiest street in the village. On a grassy verge Crocuses were in flower and Iris reticulata provided a vivid splash of purple.
I was pleased to see our own native Privet, Ligustrum vulgare, in  a garden hedge. It had been left unclipped and was consequently bearing masses of its black fruit. They seem to have been eschewed by the local birds but in really harsh conditions I'm sure they'll prove acceptable. The flowers are very fragrant to the point of being almost sickly but I am fond of them. Not so beekeepers. I  am told that Privet honey is quite nauseous but it probably gets blended in with that of other flowers, so it is surely not a problem. The plant is a fairly good indicator of limy soils and is therefore not uncommon throughout Northants, particularly in the east. 

Inevitably John Clare had something to say on the subject:

White Dog-rose, woodbine and the
On the young gales their rural sweetness
Wild Privet, Ligustrum vulgare, in fruit.
Byfield.  19 February, 2013

Clare's Village Minstrel II, publ.1821

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