Country diary: My paean to the hawthorn, feeder of many

Hawthorn flowers by Bill Stanworth

The Guardian reports this little tree is barely twice my height yet it feeds so many. A grey squirrel pauses to snack on its daily run along the dry stone wall. Heaps of chewed berries on the ground show where mice have fed. In spring, hawthorn leaves are the first to emerge in the valley, followed by blossoms, plentiful in nectar and pollen for bees and hoverflies.