Autumn is a strange time of year throwing up some interesting combinations as plants try a second, fruitless flowering while berries hang in the hedgerows. On a damp autumnal walk around the village yesterday white deadnettle, dandelion, bramble and hogweed flowered along the road verge while red poppies flowered in a field full of beans. Meanwhile the elderberries dangled in heavy bunches from their small trees and blackberries, now past their best, were still plentiful. Sloes, however, are in very short supply, presumably a victim of the late spring.
Under a large ash tree an impressive clump of fungi provided a splash of colour. They were probably shaggy pholiota (Pholiota squarrosa) which are parasitic on broadleaved trees. Their edibility seems to be debatable with some sources saying they should not be consumed while others suggest the young ones are OK (though not with alcohol): they are best left alone.