A Sea Mist

Before dinner yesterday I had optimistically left stubborn logs from a small bonfire smouldering in the trusty old rusty wheelbarrow. Today they had largely been reduced to ashes that, when cooled, will be added to the compost, along with the weeds I am about to mention.

Jackie has been doing a good job of weeding and path-clearing for the last week of so. This afternoon I made a minor contribution by starting on the Gallium aparine, otherwise known, among other things, as ‘sticky Willy’.Gallium aparine

This plant will trail anywhere, and climb the tallest shrubs and smaller trees until it reaches the sunlight it needs for blooming and seeding. It is essential to eradicate it before the flowers appear and the seeds are dropped. If left to mature the slender taproots can become quite bulbous. The hairy stems are apparently, if cooked, edible. Soph, of agentsoffield.wordpress.com, recently posted ‘A Nettle Odyssey’, contemplating cooking stinging nettles. I wonder if she has done the same with this particular Gallium. Bitter cressGallium aparine flowersYou wouldn’t eat it raw because the tiny hooks on them act like velcro, from which another of its names derives.  Last year we came to this task far too late and are already reaping the dubious rewards. The small white blooms, yet to appear, are easily confused with those of the bitter cress (pictured on the left), another weed that is already adding sections of not unpleasant carpet to our beds. I first came across the velcro plant in the garden of Lindum House in Newark, where it was equally prolific, and where I became familiar with the roots mentioned above.

Somewhat later, swathes of smoke bustled slowly across the garden, seemingly from someone else’s bonfire. But precipitation was in the air. It appeared to be raining, and the temperature dropped. I believe we were experiencing  what meteorologists term haar, that is a cold sea fog usually found on the East coast of England or Scotland, occuring when warmer, damper, air moves over the relatively cooler North Sea, causing the moisture in the air to condense. All right, we are neither on the East coast nor anywhere near the North Sea, but I’ve only ever been able to use the word before when setting cryptic crosswords, so I am sure you will allow me a certain literary licence.Tree in sea mist 1Tree in sea mist  2Tree in sea mist  3Tree in sea mist 4

Flo photographed the gradual disappearance of the tree across the road from her bedroom window.

This evening we all dined together before Becky, Flo, and Ian returned home to Emsworth. The meal was Jackie’s delicious sausage casserole; succulent cauliflower and broccoli cheese; and crisp carrots and green beans. I drank Castillo San Lorenzo rioja reserva 2009; Jackie drank Hoegaarden; Ian, Cobra, and Becky rosé.