The Signposts

Everything growing is a post-it note left there as a hint to the bigger picture.

Waxcaps: You are on undisturbed land

The fungi of a dozen colours, family Waxcap is bright, obvious, and sensitive. They thrive in old mossy grasslands and churchyard edges that haven’t been ploughed, fertilised or otherwise harmed. If disturbed, they might not return to a site within a human lifetime. If watched, they tell their stories. Blackening waxcap begins with a glow of gold.

Blackening waxcap golden

Before turning dark, spreading its spores back to the earth.

Blackening waxcap2 Oct 21

Wall barley: You are on disturbed land

Thriving on the opposite, this grass and its extraordinary bristles (properly known as ‘awns’) like roughed-up areas. It often appears on urban road verges and cracks in pavements. It is related to the barley species grown on farms.

Wall barley 30 Oct 21

Stinging nettle: You are on nutrient-rich ground.

That may sound like a good thing, but most of those nutrients will be run-off from agriculture or be leaking from old iron fences. Too many nettles equals an environmental question-mark. They are also fierce to the touch, as most rural children know. But they have been used by many cultures for various things, from medicine to textiles.

Stinging nettle 2 Nov 21

Mist: You are in November-land.

It is autumn, and that grows mist. And it is beautiful.

Misty morning1 3 Nov 21

16 thoughts on “The Signposts

  1. Oops, please ignore the comment I’ve just sent about “the other side of the Pond”. I’ve not had breakfast yet, and am obviously suffering nutrient deficiency! But my thoughts on the photos and “fierce to the touch” nettles stand. What a lovely choice of words, wish I’d thought of that. I’ll stop now, and have some Cornflakes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL! Well, the other side of the Wash, at least. I’m definitely typing this in a Surrey accent (possibly with a tinge of Norfolk around the edges now). That did lead me on an interesting journey through the origins of the season’s name, though. According to, ‘autumn’ dates at least to the 1300s, and ‘fall’ began to gain ground in the 1500s. However, autumn had overtaken it again in England by the 17th century. It’s strange that fall became established in the US yet not here.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah Surrey, I remember Surrey (well, Staines anyway)! Fall “does what it says on the tin” but I still prefer autumn, if only because I can’t think of an equivalent of the word “autumnal” with the word “fall” at its heart.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. When I was a kid, my mom or grandma would pick some stinging nettles, usually in spring, and make a side dish for lunch – it tasted similar to spinach. But it has to be young, otherwise it’s not very tasty 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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