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Wild Dorset

SHADES OF GREEN Ellen Simon, Tamarisk Farm

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s my eyes rest from work they fall on the fields and hedges, and what is within them and around them. Sometimes this is without attention and I see not the things which are there but the patterns they form in the colours of the season. We are in September which, to me, is part of the dark green phase of the year. For now, green is ubiquitous. Green is the colour of life and growth. It is the domain of the Green Man and it defines England’s pleasant land. Soon the green will start to depart and in preparation for that is becoming muted. The backdrop to our farm is the wide expanse of sky over our long sea horizon, with their ever-shifting palette, so for us green never becomes overpowering. When we visit inland farms I can feel weighed down by the unrelenting green of the trees, the hedges and the grass without the relief of the blues and greys of the sea. By this time of year our grasslands are only classic 48 | Bridport Times | September 2019

grass-green if they were cut for hay back in June or July, or if animals grazed them around then. In uncropped fields, the seed heads of the grasses are now everywhere, a faded gold enhanced in some places by the last bright flowers of the fleabane and the hoary ragwort but mostly the glow is dulled by their brass and silver seedheads. The drifts of brilliant blue tufted vetch, dotted with red and black six-spot burnet moths a few weeks ago, are now light chestnut with dried stems and seed-pods, and the smaller drifts of bush vetch are black with empty pods, spiral twisted. If these fields are grazed now, even the rough-eating cattle will not manage to clear the old vegetation, choosing the fresher green which is hidden beneath it, so we will not see an emerald sward for a while. But the old culms of the grasses and brittle stems of the flowering plants will decay and contribute to the slow build of the soil. The sheep seem to try to colour-

Profile for Sherborne & Bridport Times

Bridport Times September 2019  

Featuring gardener and basket-maker Malcolm Seal + What's On, Arts & Culture, History, Wild Dorset, Outdoors, Archaeology, Food & Drink, Bod...

Bridport Times September 2019  

Featuring gardener and basket-maker Malcolm Seal + What's On, Arts & Culture, History, Wild Dorset, Outdoors, Archaeology, Food & Drink, Bod...