After a spell of unseasonably cool weather during July, the sun came out to welcome the Littleborough rushcart. Decorated with shiny objects, topped with rowan, for protection, and preceeded by ‘dirty Bet’ (or ‘dirty Molly’) sweeping the street with her besom, the cart processes through town with stops for refreshment and dancing. From medieval times rushes were gathered for flooring, and to help to insulate houses, churches, and other buildings. It was good to see a vibrant community focus, shaped around the needs and ideas of young people, and that the Littleborough event, revived in 1981, is no longer oriented towards the church.
The cool damp weather meant that the heather, which is usually fragrant on our hillside by Lammas/Lughnasad, was late this year. My attention was drawn instead to the Great Hairy Willowherb, otherwise known as “Son-before-the-Father, Codlings and Cream, Apple Pie, Cherry Pie, Gooseberry Pie, Sod Apple, and Plum Pudding”! These wonderfully evocative names that make a nice link to the festival of first fruits, relate to the flower’s ephemeral but delicate scent. Hirsuit Willowherb is said to be ruled by Jupiter, which seems appropriate given that the plant is often taller than me. (for more see here).
This summer has been a good one for local plant hunters. We paid our respects to one of two Green Flowered or Broad Leaved Helleborines, found recently, and not previously recorded in the area. sadly, the other specimin has already been dug up! On another walk I discovered a large patch of musk flower that hadn’t been noticed before, and seems to be the only one in the locality. Musk flower is an American variant of mimulus that’s naturalised in europe. (Both the musk and the helleborine were behind barbed wire fences, so no photograph).
The next image hopefully speaks for itself. I wanted to emphasise the texture of these water worn sandstone outcrops.
Finally, some seasonal fruit at the Incredible Farm Shop, a derelict Baptist chapel adopted by a congregation of nettles, and some Elecampaine -a favourite garden plant that we don’t have space to grow!