Thursday 9th May 2024

What a glorious day! We started off with what we could hear apart from children and that was a robin and a lamb. Then, I asked the children to go round and count all the flowers they could in the nature area. They managed between them bluebell, garlic mustard, rosemary, periwinkle, daisy, buttercup, forget me not, but they forgot chives and apple blossom! Still, pretty impressive. An eagle-eyed Parker spotted two unknown ones: a pretty blue vetch and a yellow wood avens. Following that, three things that had changed since last week: everything had visibly grown taller; it was much warmer; there was condensation under our seed tray lids; and some of the seeds had sprouted. Also, the hawthorn blossom is in full bloom.

As today is national hedgerows week, we had a good observation and smell of our beautiful hawthorn or may flower. We saw that it had lobed leaves, five petals, thorns and smelt like sweet vanilla. They named lots of insects that would eat it or live in it, as well as birds when the red haws or berries come in the autumn. They were amazed that it actually supports 300 species and that dormice feed on the flowers. No-one knew that originally children danced around a Hawthorn tree on May Day or that the May Queen's garland was made from hawthorn flowers as it was a pagan symbol of fertility. Superstition says you should never bring it into your house though, but I won't go into the reasons here!  After that, we went to the blackcurrant bushes out the front to mulch, water and began weeding!

The children heard the saying Ne'er cast a clout till May is out ... or Don't take off your winter clothes till the May Blossom is out.

Sound advice, even in 2024!