Carrying on in the winter wonders theme I took a close look at the snowdrops this year. All the way through their life cycle they are a beautiful little plant . From the simple beauty of the drooped heads as they emerge, to the majesty of them as they open, through the dramatic flaring as they mature and finally to their dignified withering as they die.
The buds on the trees at this time of year at first glance seem very simple and not worth a second glance but when you get up real close you start to really appreciate the complexity of these little compact power houses. Some like the long pointed beech bud look very smooth, others like the oak and cherry are covered in scales and the dark mitre of the ash looks rough to the touch. All though are biding their time to start that cycle of life again.
A lot of the colour over the winter is to be found with the seeds and nuts hanging everywhere. The red of the hawthorn (haw) berry can still be very striking but the deep red of the rosehip has gone as it has shrivelled up. The ivy seeds are all still hanging in there in their regimented clusters but emerging through are the tiny snowdrop seeds and the furry little pods of the lungwort nutlets.
Last weekend I stopped for a break at one of the roadside services you find on most main roads these days. I decided to have a wander while the rest of the lads got what they wanted from the shop.
I was lazily staring at the trees and noticed something about one tree in particular, a sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus). The tree had buds on it at every stage of growth. I could track in a zig zag pattern across just one small part of the tree all these stages.
When the lads arrived they asked what I was doing and shook their heads pityingly as I took out my phone to capture the pictures.
Here are all the stages I saw. No need for me to try and describe them as the pictures say it all.
I have been trying to capture this process of growth on different trees this spring but was struck by the sight of all these stages on just a few branches of the same tree.
As the spring growth is coming thick and fast I popped back out on Monday to see what was coming through around Bramley.
I found that the ash had started to burst through but only on some trees. The top two pictures are of ash as well as the bottom right picture.
Bottom left is lime and in the centre (bottom) I found one English oak tree that was starting to push its leaves out.
That English oak had just one solitary leaf showing when I photographed it so as I write this three days later I expect it will be well covered now. The beech tree (bottom left) that I have been monitoring had been chopped in two as they had been doing some mechanical hedgecutting in the area. Thankfully as you can see the bottom half of the beech is managing to push some leaves out.
The silver birch in the middle picture has produced masses of leaves and they taste exceptionally good at the moment. On the right looking very shiny the lime tree I have been watching has just a few leaves showing now. Finally on the bottom right the alder is well established with leaves as it had started two weeks ago.
There are plenty of flowers out there still, including primroses, stichworts, wood anemones and wild strawberries to name a few, but two caught my attention this trip. The top two show the early purple orchid and the bottom two the masses of bluebells that have appeared over the last week.
My kids had a great time looking for these orchids so we decided to make a little video of it.
I have been out and about again seeing what has been appearing in the woods around my village.
I took my son out this time and we used our bikes to get around. Normally I would walk so I would not miss anything but this time I wanted to try something new, that is to video my ’round’. My round consists of 12 sites I visit every week or two to see what is appearing at each site and in between each site photographing the growth appearing on certain trees.
Here are some of the pictures I took as I filmed. From left to right they are (top row) cherry blossom, orchid leaves, (bottom row) oxlip, hedge garlic and marsh marigold. All of the flowering parts of these plants – apart from the orchid, which hasn’t flowered yet – have been appearing in just the last week.
Lots of trees have finally been bursting their buds. Below from left to right are (top) alder, goat willow, (bottom) apple and cherry.
Also appearing have been the silverbirch, hawthorn, hazel and horse chestnut:
Some trees are still waiting to leaf and they include the English oak, lime, beech and (bottom right) the ash. I haven’t yet identified the bud shown in the middle right picture: any ideas?
While I was doing all this photography I tried a little experiment using my mini iPad camera filming my route. Sorry about the quick change between scenes and all the movement, I will try and work on making this easier on the eye in future.