Saturday, June 1, 2013


The first official day of summer, and up at St. John's Chapel in Weardale the banks of the river Wear are fringed with a frothy mass of blossom. 

In the background, bird cherry; on the left of the picture are the umbels of aniseed-scented sweet cicely; at the bottom right, sloe (aka blackthorn blossom). 

This is a picture that sums up the consequences of the cold, late spring for our flora, because although sloe typically flowers in April it's in full bloom here in June. Spring flowers have been held back to such an extent that many have been overtaken by the summer bloomers. 

The upside, as far as blackthorn is concerned, is that there are far more pollinators around now than there would have  been during its normal flowering period, so maybe there will be a much better sloe crop than last year, so it might be a vintage year for sloe gin. Always look on the bright side of life, eh?

Sloe blossom

Bird cherry blossom

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