Thursday, 4 July 2013

Over the Hill

Today's title doesn't of course refer to Malcolm and me, but our walk this morning which took us up Shipley Hill to the site of the old hall.  Having climbed the hill, we enjoyed the view before walking around the ruins of the hall and through the woodland which surrounds it.
Everything is green and lush at the moment and with the birds singing in the treetops, it was a joy to be wandering through the wood this morning.  The very friendly Chocolate Labrador which came over for a bit of fuss was having a good time too.
On our way back down the hill, we took a path which cuts across the meadow and were glad to see all the wild flowers and grasses.  among these were several Yellow Rattle plants (Rhinanthus minor).  Semi-parasitic in nature, these lovely little flowers gain half of their nutrition from the plants among which it grows, particularly the grasses.  This makes the Yellow Rattle a very useful plant to have in a wild flower meadow as they help to keep the grasses from overwhelming all the other plants.
The name 'Rattle' comes from the dried seed pods of the plant.  The seed itself is held loosely in the papery pod and rattles when shaken.
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