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June hedgerow, trees and berries


Other June pages: Meadow and field flowersWayside flowersDownland and seaside flowersBirds Butterflies and insectsWeather

Put your cursor over any photo to see its caption, or click here to see more June hedgerow, tree and berry photos.

June is a great month for hedgerow flowers, in particular wild roses (such as the pink flowered dog rose and the white burnet rose) which appear at the beginning of the month (not till the fourth week in 2013) and last till the third or fourth week. Cultivated rose gardens (for example in Hyde Park, Regents Park or at Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire) are also at their best in early June.

Another kind of rose, bramble, flowers right from the start of June (though not till the end of June in the late springs of 2006, 2010 and 2013), the amount of flowers increasing as the month goes on. In a normal year, most of the blossom is over by the end of the month and you start to see green unripe blackberries, but some flowers also continue into July. It is not unusual to see both berries and blossom on the same bush.

Elderflowers also continue to offer splash of white across hedgerows and field margins for the first three weeks or so of June (starting and ending a week later in 2006, 2010, and 2015 but a week earlier in 2008 and 2011: lasting all month in 2012 and 2013). Elder tends to flower in phases, with some flower heads out and others going over.

Other hedgerow shrubs in bloom in June include guelder rose, which can be seen right from the start of the month, having started usually in late May. It has very strange flowers with large petals on the outside and small ones in the middle, making it look as if it is only half out. Dogwood follows in the second week (not till the second half in 2015 and the end of the month in 2013) with white flowers which last about a fortnight. Then from mid month privet - both the garden hedge variety (if not trimmed back too much) and the wild version, which has narrower leaves - produces white flowerheads with an intense sweet aroma.

Another characteristic flower of June is honeysuckle which appears early in the month (not until the second half in 2015 and the end of the month in 2010 and 2013) and goes on to last for much of the summer. June also sees more inconspicuous climbers in flower: white bryony, with pale, almost green flowers and black bryony, which has similar flowers but much smaller, and distinctive heart-shaped leaves. The strange purple flowers of woody nightshade (also known as bittersweet) appear early in the month and can be producing green berries towards its end, usually while still continuing to flower as well. Not yet in bloom is wild clematis - traveller's joy - but the buds on the tendrils of this common hedgerow climber are very noticeable in June.

The large leaved bush that you see in June is burdock which can be flowering in its inconspicuous way (the flowers look like thistles half out) at the very end of the month. (This plant is better known for producing burrs that stick to your clothing in late summer). At the same time buddleia can also start to flower on urban wasteground and alongside railway tracks.

Also on suburban wasteground as well as in gardens and parks, three shrubs whose berries are conspicuous in midwinter bloom at this time of year. Snowberry has tiny pink flowers, which will later turn into the white-globed fruits which remain on its bare branches in winter, while firethorn, whose orange or red berries are an important food for birds in January and February, briefly explodes into a mass of white flowers early in the month. Cotoneaster, which sports bright red berries in winter, produces its off-white flowers later in the month and into July.

Rhododendron's bright pink flowers can also still be seen in the first half of June and at the same time you may see the striking white flower spikes of the semi-wild portugal laurel. Some laburnum flowers survive into early June in parks and gardens (and sometimes semi-wild situations) and in the same habitats Russian vine starts to flower in white cascades towards the end of the month.

Tree seeds and nuts

Right at the start of the month the female catkins of white or crack willow (the two often hybridise, and have pale undersides to their leaves) disperse in a shower of fluffy seeds. On many other trees - for example ash, hornbeam, sycamore, Norway maple and field maple - the seeds are fully formed but remain on the trees. Sycamore and field maple seeds sometimes take on a reddish tinge.

Beech also has fully formed nut cases and alder sports new green cones but still keeps some from last season. Birch has a cylindrical green fruit, which looks for all the world like a fat catkin bud. New seed balls on London plane are still quite small (and it too may still retain some old ones from the previous year), and it is not till the end of the month that oak trees have tiny nodules that will grow into acorns.

The May spikes of flowers on horse chestnuts have given way to tiny green conkers, which at first sit erect on the remains of the flower spikes: as the month goes on and they get bigger, some fall off, and the rest start to hang below the branches instead of sitting above them. Sadly in the second half of June the trees may also start to develop the leaf blight that has so affected them in recent years. In June 2012 many sycamores on the south coast also developed wilted leaves but this has not so far happened again.

In places hazelnuts can be fully formed though still unripe, but this may not happen on some trees till July. New larch cones are now full-sized and brown and only distinguishable from last year's (which remain on the tree) due to their smooth exterior.

By contrast, some trees are still flowering. Whitebeam may still be in bloom at the start of the month, and from quite early in June long tassels appear on sweet chestnut, though they do not actually flower till late in the month, when they produce a sickly sweet scent. Lime flowers also have a sweet aroma when they appear at the end of the month, though less strong than that of sweet chestnut. These two trees are the last to flower in the south east, the end of a sequence that started with hazel catkins in January or February.

Berries and fruit

Look closely and you can see that berries and fruit are starting to appear, most notably on wild cherry trees, which can have ripe red fruit as early as the third week of June (the first week in 2011). They are often rather small compared to commercial cherries and many are instantly eaten by birds. Some trees do not produce them at all.

Close inspection shows many other unripe fruits on trees and shrubs: for example green haws on hawthorn (some of which may turn reddish in June, but this is not generally supposed to happen until late July), green sloes on blackthorn bushes (which slowly grow to full size during the month), and unripe plums, cherry plums, apples, crab apples and pears. Dogwood, elder and firethorn also develop tiny green berries almost as soon as they finish flowering, and you can see green berries on whitebeam, wayfaring tree, cherry laurel, spindle and holly.

Late in the month you can occasionally also find ripe raspberries growing in the wild. Rowan berries turn from green in the first part of the month to brown at its end. (In 2013, after a very cold start to spring, the tree was still in flower early in the month).

More June pages:


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