Saturday, 9 October 2010


The familiar gorse is in flower again, if indeed it ever stopped. The peak flowering season is spring, but some bushes start flowering in the autumn and others carry on through the winter. There can be a short period in July and August when flowering ceases, but even then a few flowers can sometimes be found. The saying "When gorse is out of blossom, kissing's out of fashion" suggests that those keen on kissing know that they don't ever have to stop! Although farmers regard gorse as a serious weed, taking over rough pastures and spreading rapidly over hillsides, it is an important plant for wildlife, with its abundant nectar for insects, including bumblebees, and the provision of safe nesting places for birds like Yellowhammer, Stonechat and Linnet.


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