Happy Christmas

A Safe, Healthy, and Happy Christmas to you all.

Hedgerow Spindle Berries

Various stages of development and ripening of the berries borne by the Spindle bush (Euonymous europaeus) seen in hedgerows around the village, notably in the CD Nature Reserve – although they are not so abundant as last year and do not seem to be surviving on the branches for so long. Last year many remained intact and still containing their bright orange seeds into the January frosts.

Hedgerow Wayfarer Berries

Various stages of development and ripening of the berries borne by the Wayfarer or Wayfaring tree (Viburnum lantana) seen in hedgerows around the village, notably in Olympic Park and the CD Nature Reserve – although they are rapidly stripped by the birds.

Hedgerow Hawthorn Berries

Hawthorn berries or haws (Crataegus monogyna) are so common in the local Charlton Down hedgerows that I almost forgot to mention them.

Hedgerow Bryony Berries

I love the way that bright juicy Bryony berries are festooning the hedgerows. I am not certain whether they are White Bryony (Bryonia dioica) or Black Bryony (Tamus communis) because the leaves have mostly shrivelled away. I tend to think these are Black bryony from what is left of the foliage. I particularly like it when the fruit is carried on the looping strands of the dying vines so that they look like necklaces or fairy lights in the hedges.

Hedgerow Guelder-Rose Berries

Guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus) is not as common as Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Elder, and Dog Rose in the hedgerows and copses around our village of Charlton Down, but it has beautiful flowers in Spring and luscious red berries in Autumn. The best example of Guelder Rose can be found in the trees and bushes bordering the area of grassland that I have previously referred to as The Meadow: this is a triangular piece of land down the slope from Rowan Walk, and near the path that passes north and upwards to the barn on the crest of the hill as you walk to Forston Grange. Guelder-rose also grows in the hedge separating the Community Orchard from the road. The berries in the pictures are not quite ripe yet, still a bit orange in colour (24 August 2021) but should be ripe and a deep translucent red by now or pretty soon.

Hedgerow Elderberries

Elderberries are also common in the Dorset hedgerows. The Elder shrub or tree provides flowers in spring for cordials and elderflower wine or ‘champagne’. In July and August the berries start to form and change from green, through red. They ripen to black in autumn. The berries are popular with birds so not all bushes are laden around Charlton Down but, here and there, they are laden and ripe for picking and making wine, jam, or syrup. There are lots of recipes on-line.

Hedgerow Sloes

Sloes, the fruits of the Blackthorn, are ripening in the hedgerows around Charlton Down. They resemble small grapes or damsons. They look delicious but they seem to be used mostly for flavouring gin.

Hedgerow Rosehips

Rosehips are the fruits of the Dog Rose which grows in the hedgerows near Charlton Down in Dorset. These were photographed 3 September 2021.

Autumn Silhouettes 1

Thistle flowers going to seed, Hawthorn berries, and Blackberries in the hedgerows, and flowering Stinging Nettles in the fields, on the first official day of Autumn in Charlton Down.