Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Tale of Snowdrops and Dragons

This afternoon I had the choice of snowdrops or dragons - to walk in a wood and see the snowdrops or to track down a dragon in the next village (bare with me I haven't lost the plot honestly!).  I chose snowdrops as I thought they wouldn't be around for very long and off we went.  We went to Chalkney Wood near Earls Colne in Essex.

It turned out a bit like the book 'Bear Hunt' as we found mud - lots and lots of mud.  We couldn't go over it, we couldn't go under it, we had to go through it!  And it squelched and it squelched and it squelched!

We didn't find snowdrops in the wood though and we did get ever so slightly lost.  But when we eventually found our way back to the car we spied some snowdrops on the opposite verge to where we had parked!

But on the way home something rather exciting happened - we took a detour to try and find the dragon.    The legend is that in 1405 a dragon appeared out of the river Stour in Sudbury.  The townsfolk tried to kill it but all they did was agitate it and it went back into the river towards Bures where it disappeared into a marsh.  You can read more here if you want to.  I'd heard on the radio that there was now a dragon on a hillside in Bures but until last night I didn't know where it was. We followed the directions I'd been given on twitter and went down a tiny track by a reclamation yard to St Stephen's Chapel.

The chapel was built in about 1200 on the site where Edmund was crowned King of the Angles in 855.  And there on the hillside overlooking the chapel we found the dragon.

He's quite impressive and I'm so pleased we found him!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Tiny Signs of Spring

Walking down the garden today I spotted signs of spring.  Only little signs at the moment and I did have to look hard to see some of them, but they're there alright!

One (yes I did say one!) snowdrop next to the hellebores. (I'm not sure where the other snowdrops have gone...)

Tiny chaenomeles buds breaking

and lilac buds beginning to fatten.

Aqualegia leaves unfurling

And the delicious scent of Lonicera Fragrantisima filling the air.

But the thing I am most excited about is the amount of buds on this - Abeliophyllum distichum (or White Forsythia).

I planted it about 4 years ago and have hardly had any flowers in the past - so this is looking very hopeful!