May 2023

Buttermere Cottage garden this afternoon.

Ever since I started this blog in 2011, there are two items that I always write about in May; Rannerdale bluebells and hearing the first cuckoo.

The bluebells are a short and beautiful walk through the Rannerdale valley with flowers carpeting both sides of the valley. They are a very special sight but sadly we are told they are suffering from their own popularity: hopefully there is now an increasing awareness of  the long term damage that can be caused by visitors not staying on the paths.

A Rannerdale Herdy!

Although Rannerdale is the most well known area for bluebells in the valley, there are many other places that have eye-catching shows, some just a display by a road or on a fellside. I can see the blue on Brackenthwaite Hows from my garden.

It is always interesting how flowers vary from year to year. This year the primroses were outstanding and so is the gorse and hawthorn. It is also an excellent year for stitchwort, a rather retiring flower that always seems to in the shadow of other flowers.

This year I heard the first cuckoo on 29 April but my neighbour had heard it a few days earlier. All the birds are very busy at the moment. We have lots of swallows swooping around and some are nesting in the store round the back and my front hedge is home to many families of sparrows. We have been visited on a couple of nights by a baby owl sitting on a roof – hope his mother knew where he was. I also had a more unusual visitor to the garden, a red legged partridge who obligingly posed on the wall for me.

And last but not least the squirrels are about at the moment and one of my guests last week passed on this beautiful picture of one running up the grass behind Crummock Cottage.