Saturday, 10 July 2010

Aquatic snake at RHS Hyde Hall

Great excitement by the lily pond at RHS Hyde Hall near Chelmsford, Essex last month when P spotted, and was able to photograph, a swimming snake.
It was a gorgeous hot June Saturday in Hyde Hall's Rose Weekend, which we were visiting with Surrey Organic Gardening Group.
In the first photo you can just see the snake on the left; it seems to be having a snooze in the shade of Gunnera at the edge of the pond. A few moments after this pic, the coot spotted the snake and made a huge fuss, waking it up and chasing it off. Perhaps its chicks are prey to snakes.
The rest of the photos show the snake moving through the water and finally disappearing away under the lilies.
It appears to be a grass snake; they are known to be good swimmers. This one was about three foot long, apparently the fully grown female can be 4 foot and, exceptionally, up to 6 foot long.


ReapWhatYouGrow said...

We used to live really near Hyde Hall. Did you see the huge banana plant? Is it even still alive?

Scattered Gardener said...

Alas, the banana plants were looking a bit sad -whether they'd been pruned this year or laid low by the bitter winter I don't know. Or it could just be that, like many other plants, they've been slow to get going in the spring. Not impressive when we visited anyway.

Esther Montgomery said...

I've seen a snake swimming only once - in Radipole Lake (part of an RSPB reserve) in Dorset. Whenever I remember it, I re-experience the sense of peace and restfulness it left behind.


ReapWhatYouGrow said...

Gosh, I bet they flowered and then died off. That was one of the first and most impressive bananas I had seen in the UK at the time.

I think Hyde hall has moved on a lot since we were there, but I do remember the drought theme because of the dry climate over in Essex.