Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

Hawthorn heaven

Amazing hawthorn blossom in Gravenhurst this spring

Boiling hawthorn blossom in Gravenhurst this spring

It’s just starting. Along hedgerows, in gardens, on wasteland and in huge amounts, on bits of scrubby land; May snow is starting to fall. The hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) blossom has been a little later than usual this year, probably due to a couple of weeks of cold weather in April and it may have been that very coolness that made this year’s flowering so extraordinary. The countryside has been boiling with the effervescence of millions of five-petaled flowers. It’s not just here in Bedfordshire that this effect is apparent. We were in Shropshire briefly last Friday and driving back through that county, then bits of Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Northants, hedgerows were highlighted as if by a monster teacher armed with a tree-trunk stick of chalk.

Now the petals are beginning to fall and the next week or so will see pavements, fields and road verges drifted with white. Whether the huge blossoming results in a correspondingly heavy berry crop will depend on a load of factors such as numbers of invertebrate pollinators available and active, temperature and wind speed during the peak flowering moment.

All will no doubt become clear in October, but in the mean-time this extraordinary blossoming of the May has been something to savour.

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