The Darling Buds of May… “Murdered by Surrey County Council”
The Darling Buds of May… “Murdered by Surrey County Council”.
David Gilmour… (once of Pink Floyd):
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds to shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometimes declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
We make no apology for using Shakespeare’s famous love sonnet to announce our intention of trying to stop Surrey County Council wasting taxpayers’ money by their annual destruction of the wild environment along the A24 south of Dorking. It does, after all, relate the human condition to the natural environment.
At a time when there is a world beyond Brexit that is seriously concerned about biodiversity, mental health and economy, their action is inconceivable to many of us. Do they realise how much they upset some of us to see such wanton destruction?
The same policy undoubtedly exists elsewhere in Surrey and beyond. But not, so it would appear, further south in Sussex.
To establish our remit in campaigning for the future of next year’s darling buds, we will concentrate on one very small area of the A24 to challenge the Council. Out of the six miles of dual carriageway with a wide central reserve and wide verges, this is typical of what was mown down indiscriminately last week.
The following pictures were all taken on Tuesday 14 May within a few yards of the chevron sign. Whatever Surrey County Council may choose to make of this action, there is no rule on earth to stop me walking through a nature reserve. Alive with insects. A real pleasure. Not something I would normally do, but I saw the cones appearing and guessed what was about to happen. In the pictures you will notice that the moon daisies in particular had only just started flowering. They were mostly still in bud. A portent of what was to come.
Tuesday 14 May
A profusion of flowers and grasses – our Darling Buds of May:
Thursday 15 May
Saturday 18 May
Lighting a Candle for Diddley and the Moon Daisies.
Diddley adored the Moon Daisies and looked forward to their annual appearance on the A24. I had always called them Ox-Eye Daisies and it seems that the various names come from the part of the country you lived in. In her glorious Cotswolds, they are known by the much more evocative name of Moon Daisy. At her funeral, her daughter Amber included this is in her eulogy:
“I always feel close to mum in June not only because it’s my birth month, it is the time of year for moon daisies which appear by the roadside. Every year she always commented on how they reminded her of being pregnant with me, and this year they were particularly abundant.”
Our research found the following snippets:
Names: Ox-Eye Daisy, Dog Daisy, Field Daisy, Marguerite, Moon Daisy, Moon-Penny, PoorLand Penny, Poverty Daisy and White Daisy.
From a Gloucestershire church website:
”Buy plant ‘plugs’ from a company like www.plantwild.co.uk (01531 670 797) that can be planted in corners and allowed to naturalise through the churchyard.
Suitable plants to start with are: Cowslips, Aquilegia, Foxgloves, Blue Geraniums, Moon Daisies, Scabious – both field and devil’s bit(!). Start with larger, stronger varieties. Others like Spotted Orchids may well follow.
We owe it to Diddley to try to stop this unnecessary destruction of these darling buds of May and June. With reasoned debate. Not confrontation. The plants will recover and, given good growing conditions, rapidly become a problem in late summer to be mowed down again at great expense. But, the flowers are gone for another year. As have the seeds, the insects and the birds that benefit from both.
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