Monday, 1 May 2017

The green wave

Spring is a season of rapid changes, but sometimes the pace of the change isn't noticed until a complete transformation has taken place. With the vernal equinox past, the daylength in northern latitudes increases noticeably each day and in tandem with warmer temperatures sparks an outpouring of new growth.

 Here in the northeast of Scotland Spring comes later than in other parts of Britain, but once it does arrive the change sweeps quickly through the landscape. This year I decided to try charting the progress of  Spring in the the fields above home. The seed drills were busy in in late March, previously ploughed ground smoothed out and sown with barley.

On April 6th, ten days after the fields in the middle distance had been sown and a day after the nearest field, the ground remained bare and brown.  On the rough hill ground above the farmland the russet tones of last year's heather growth dominated.

By 12th of April a faint blush of green was evident on the lower "parks" (fields) which had been sown first, tiny 2cm green shoots forcing up through the soil.

On 21st April the lower fields were fully green, the blush of early growth was appearing in the higher fields, but the nearest field to the camera, sown ten days or so after the first, remained bare.

On 30th April the "green wave" had changed the view in the space of four weeks.  The earlier fields are well-greened and the later sown barley is coming on well.  A pulse of snow late in the month had watered the ground after a drier than usual month and on the hill ground there's a bright yellow swathe of gorse, vibrant despite overcast and murky weather.

I hope to be able to continue to document this view through the farming year as the barley grows, ripens and is harvested - with luck it will be a good harvest.


  1. What an excellent idea, Ian. We've enjoyed some recent discussions here on "being present". Your observations and images document nature's transformations - moment by moment, day by day. An excellent reminder of the miracle of life. Very best to you and Linda.

    1. Thanks Duncan - so often the change is only noticed once it's complete. The trick now is to keep documenting the year!


  2. Nice concept. Anytime I hear fields called 'parks' it evokes 'a Scots Quair' the book that inspired me to get up to Aberdeen and Laurencekirk in my early twenties to see the red earth of Kinraddie and the Howe o' the Mearns.

    1. Thanks Bob, hopefully I can document right through to harvest time and beyond. Definitely "parks" rather than "fields" in the Doric....