Country diary: the curious coexistence of ants and aphids

Country diary: the curious coexistence of ants and aphids

Cressbrook Dale, Derbyshire: This reserve is a paradise, and my eye is drawn to a remarkable relationship amid the roses

The slopes to this national nature reserve in high summer are an exquisite blend of colour and variety: acacia-like hawthorn bushes, blackthorns (like whitebeam, only in certain spots) but also agrimony, creeping cinquefoil, salad burnets with their infinite fretwork of paired leaves, and lady’s mantle and wild strawberries and burnet rose and soft-scented dog roses.

An infinity of form they may be in combination, but the plants are united in being lovers of limestone and members of the one family: Rosaceae. This primal place is, therefore, the first, and, I would argue, the most beautiful rose garden in these islands.

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