Jack by the Hedge

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In the silent watches of last night, I suddenly realised that the birthday card I wrote several days ago for one of my nephews was still sitting, unposted, on the dresser in the hall. Which is a warning to me in future not to buy birthday cards camouflaged with antique pine coloured envelopes. It was also, however, the perfect excuse for zooming off in the MX-5 this morning, to somewhere with a more sensible postal collection service than we have here in the trench.

This was the first time the car had been out of the yard since 20th March, (and my first time beyond the parish boundary since the 22nd), and it felt pretty weird even to be sitting in it. Happily it started without difficulty, but I think one of the brakes had bound on slightly, so I anticipate Trouble of a different kind the next time it goes in for service.

Having completed my errand I carried on up to Grove Hill to see if I could take my exercise there, but at the moment you can only go onto Wildlife Trust reserves if they have rights of way across them, and it turned out that the path at Grove Hill is merely permissive; so I zoomed back home and did my photography in the garden. Although it was a much warmer day today there weren’t many bees or hoverflies about, and though the Large Red Damselfly dropped in again briefly, she still only allowed me record shots. I managed a few bird photos, including a couple of a robin perching on the log pile by the pond, but of all the shots I took today I like this weed portrait the best.

This is the first time I’ve ever found garlic mustard in the garden, though it grows freely on the verges in the village. It likes shady places, and this plant is growing at the edge of the tree canopy in the wild garden. It’s potentially invasive, and is particularly unpopular in the USA because it’s not native there and is regarded as a pernicious weed, but I’ll just keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t launch a full-scale takeover bid, and cut it down if it seems to be getting above itself. A little research this evening has taught me that it’s a brassica, and is edible both cooked and as a salad leaf, but it’s said to have quite a kick, and if, as I’ve read, it tastes similar to horseradish, it’s unlikely ever to appear on my table. If wild food appeals to you, there are a couple of pages of information about garlic mustard here and here; the second one explains that by cooking the leaves you can reduce the amount of cyanide in the plant to safe levels, which certainly sounds like a good idea.