This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago mainly to highlight the tree’s yellow foliage but just look at that sky! If it wasn’t for the yellow leaves it could be assumed this was a summer photo. We have been lucky with the weather so far, touch wood, there have been a couple of frosty nights that blackened the begonias and dahlias, there have been some misty chilly days and a few ‘mizzly’ days. Mizzly days are when there is low cloud and very fine rain which is not good for man or beast!
Today, though, was quite mild and I even did some gardening – just tidying up you understand – but gardening nevertheless and in November. What surprises us is the amount of flowers still in the garden; the roses not only have full blooms but also buds and red new growth, the primroses and crocus have become totally confused and are in flower, the little magnolia is starting to unfurl its buds and winter flowering honeysuckle, Mahonia (Oregon grapes) and Viburnum are filling the garden with their scent. There are still bumble bees visiting the various flowers when we would expect them to be in hibernation now, the honeybees are also out and about but then that isn’t quite so unusual for them as they don’t hibernate. It was just so nice to be outdoors without being chilled to the bone or buffeted by the wind.
I promised, some while ago, to show a few more photos of the Isles of Scilly – these ones were especially to show Leslie the stone walls that enclose the fields. Stone was used in many parts of the UK to enclose fields and define boundaries because it was a cheap resource close to hand. The Cotswolds are renowned for their dry-stone walls as are some northern counties and stone walls can also be seen in Cornwall, Devon and Isles of Scilly although many walls have long since either fallen in disrepair or taken apart and the stone sold for building. These walls were then replaced with posts, stock wire and barbed wire to determine field boundaries and keep the farm stock enclosed.
The fields on the Isles of Scilly are quite small, certainly would look lost against some of the huge areas farmed in America! The little dots just barely discernible in one of the fields are newly introduced sheep, wonder how the walls will fare with these creatures? Sheep can do terrible damage to a stone wall in a short time – sheep have a propensity for wanting to be anywhere but in the area they should be, they certainly believe in the philosophy that the grass is greener on the other side of the wall! Once one finds a way over a stone wall then the whole flock will try their luck and before long their little scrabbling hooves have dislodged many stones. Sheep, though, are being used along with Dartmoor ponies and cattle, to keep the heather and gorse under control on St Mary’s to encourage other wildlife a this board shows:
Isn’t this wooden board beautiful? It is erected close to an area where cattle are being used to graze the sward to keep the scrubby growth under control and to help explain why this is being done.
Anyway back to the stone walls! The stone walls bounding either side of this lane can clearly be seen and they support colonies of grasses and plants; I think (and only my opinion here) that the walls were covered in soil to encourage grasses and plants to grow to help key the stones together and ensure they didn’t collapse but it is lovely walking along these lanes in the dappled shade and trying to identify the plants growing amongst the stones. The birds also benefit as these walls provide some good nesting sites. Whilst we were on holiday there we encountered many a low flying swallow skimming along the road and then up and over the walls into the fields catching flying insects.
In the late 19th and well into the 20th century daffodil growing was big business in the Isles of Scilly, as the climate was milder the daffodils flowered very early and the flowers were picked and bunched to sell at the markets on the mainland, this side of the Islands income is now much depressed due to the large amounts of flowers imported from even warmer climes but fields of daffodils can still be seen and we also spotted a field of gladioli – Dame Edna Everidge of Australia fame would have been in ‘her’ element!
There is no visible sign of the daffodils as yet in this field but the way it has been cultivated gives the game away! In this field the boundaries are of trees and shrubs to give extra protection to the flowers. Some of the daffodil fields are covered over in protective fleece to force even earlier flowers so that the flowering is staggered over a period of time.
Back on the mainland in Penzance we took some photos of the swing bridge that separates the main harbour from the ‘dry’ dock area with the bridge which crosses the road allowing boats to enter from the main harbour into the dry dock for repairs.
This the swing bridge, you can just make out the join in the road.