Summer Day


Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Sunday, 5th August, 2007

treespigeonbarrowAT LAST, a real summer's day; the warmest day since April. We're in Diana and Malcolm's back garden in Wakefield. Diana tells us that a bit of flooding on their allotment nearby has made this a poorer year for vegetable growing than last with potatoes not doing as well. Hers seem to have grown in knobbly shapes like a surrealist version of Mr Potatohead or miniature Henry Moore figures. Like us, she found that the parsnips she planted never germinated.

I draw the ash, leyland cypress and sycamore growing a few gardens away. The pink flowers on the hydrangea (right) in the bed by the fence suggest that the soil here is fairly neutral. In acidic conditions hydrangeas tend to have blue flowers.

flintantOn the ground are some pieces of weathered flint which have probably been introduced into the garden amongst a load of gravel. Flint doesn't occur in the bedrock but it could perhaps have been introduced into the area by ice age glaciers or subsequent transport in meltwater. But it's most likely to have come from a gravel pit some distance away.

A queen ant (right) prospects around the patio for a suitable nest site. Diana tells me that one day she saw ants pouring out of a crevice in the paviers by the road in front of the house. There were lots of flying ants, like this queen, amongst them.