Verging on the Ranunculus

Trimmed to 6 inches once or twice per year and we’re left with a mower’s-width strip of plain, ordinary, everyday, common-or-garden grass stretching for miles and miles along our roadsides, whether in the country or in town.

But leave this strip to grow for a while and we begin to see that the grass is neither plain nor ordinary, but is made up of foxtails, bents and cat’s-tails, timothy, wild-oats and bromes, spires and plumes, wisps and spikes, grasses of all sorts, tufted, tall or waving in the wind!

Early in the year we see our roadside verges brilliantly lit up with the sunshine yellow of dandelions, soon followed by hosts of dandelion ghosts as they set their clocks to produce seed. Yet, leave it a little while longer and we’ll begin to see vetch and primrose, celandine, scabious and cow parsley, then red clover, bluebells, campions and cuckoo flowers. Later still, poppies, yarrow, teasels and honeysuckle appear, and of course buttercups and daisies in their many, many forms.

Beetles, bees, butterflies and moths as well as hoverflies, sawflies and spiders of many kinds all find their refuge in these verges. In fact I’m told that they have wonderful names like the marmalade hoverfly, the orange-tip butterfly, the froghopper and the buff-tailed bumble bee.

Our good friends at the Tay Landscape Partnership have recently launched a campaign which is aimed at managing your favourite roadside verges for the protection of wildlife. To take part in this great initiative, take a wander over to http://www.taylp.org/are-you-a-road-verge-champion/ where you can nominate particular verges which capture your eye, photographs more than welcome!

Spread the word and spread the wildflowers!

Patrick

Road Verge Champions poster

Four leaf clover and other hidden gems

Out and about yesterday checking some paths with Ian Montgomery, one of the Greenspace Rangers who cover the area from Perth over to Kingoodie and down to Kinross.

The idea is that we both walk paths which are relatively close to one another, checking whether the entire path is accessible, whether there are any physical obstructions and photographing suitable locations for finger posts and waymarkers.

Ian was off on a circular walk near Castle Law behind Abernethy, so I dropped him off, arranged to meet him in a couple of hours and set off for Powrie Park. I parked in behind the Tennis Courts, donned my wellies, checked that I had my water, camera, phones, map & pen and I was off!

Mine was a short walk down the side of Powrie Park out into the farmland, heading north at frst then zig-zagging around field edges until I reached a hidden gem of a place at the baks of the Earn by the old Carpow Pier.

Before turning around & heading back the way I’d came, I had a chat with a resident of one of the nearby cottages who informed me that the “shortcut” was well used by the good people of Abernethy, and that some folk bring a rod for a spot of fishing, while others come down simply to stand around enjoying the view from the old jetty.

I picked Ian up much sooner than I expected, out on the Glenfarg Road (best not ask how he got way out there, or why he was covered in mud all down the one side!). We compared notes and stories and set off for more of the same in the afternoon over at Forteviot. Here’s a couple of photos I took along the way.

Patrick

For more information about paths including downloadable maps and leaflets, visit www.pkc.gov.uk/paths