June 27, 2011

Hay fever

The grass in the uncut meadow area in Brockwell Park is tall and lush, thick with seedheads and brimming with life – as evidenced by the swifts jinking and scything low over it at the weekend in the hot sun, the only spot in the park where they were hawking so low. Just walking through it you could hear that it was abuzz with grasshoppers and bees, and tiny spiders were probably drifting up from it on silk lines, too, aerial plankton for them to hoover up like sleek little basking sharks.

The grass will soon be cut for hay all over the countryside. Calculating when to do it is a tricky task; overall this spring has been very dry, and the meadow grass in London certainly isn't as high as it was this time last year, but it is now in seed which means it's the right time to cut. Sunday and today have been very hot (32 degrees), but it feels as though the weather is about to break in spectacular fashion. Wet grass is hard to cut and can rot in the fields or in the bales, so the farmers will need to decide whether to cut it now – or whether to risk holding out for another hot, dry spell in the next 10 days or so.