On a sunny afternoon in early September, I sit in the orchard meadow next to a clump of late-flowering marjoram. It is covered in bees – honeybees from the nearby hives, and two kinds of bumblebee – crawling over the flower heads, burrowing in for nectar, and getting smothered in grains of pollen as they do so. Butterflies – a gatekeeper, a small white, and a common blue – flutter delicately between the flower clusters.

Straggling through the marjoram are strands of vetch, with taller knapweed behind, all wild flowers that blossom as summer draws to a close, a finale to a changing palette ...


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