PAINTED LADIES


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There is an abundance in the air – not just wildlife, but food and fruits resulting from a favourable growing season sponsored by benign weather.
There has been an embarkation of painted ladies from N Africa – we are talking butterflies here – which has added to the swarms of regular species inhabiting our downs and woodlands at Ashridge.. The rare purple emperor has put in an appearance again around Sallow Copse, its natural feeding area. The rare fickle flowering violet helleborine has put in a magical showing this year at its regular haunts.
Summer is when mother nature presents the fruits of her spring labour. She has not disappointed this year – buoyed by long spells of hot sunshine wildlife and crops are abundant. Mild wet winters followed by a warm spring create the perfect conditions for growing plants. The hornbeams planted in Rail Copse by the volunteers in the spring have burst forth with a near 100% success rate.

Wet May long hay as the farmers say.

February was unseasonably mild – no Beast from the East – and with no severe late frosts to speak of, insects appeared early according to Nature’s Calendar, kick starting a lush growing season. The spring blooming of woodland flowers lasted long, followed by the flowering blackthorn and wild privet supporting the early butterflies in profusion – and the rain showers in May turbo-charged the downland flora.
It’s now payback time as bountiful England basks in a tide of plenty. The hedgerows are bursting with brambles and sloes, the woods weighed down with nuts and berries, the orchards are laden, allotments and gardens are awash with produce.
Now harvest precedes the slow march of autumn which is just around the corner, with lots in store for winter wildlife and Christmas decorations!

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