BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘apple’

#365daysofbiking How do you like those apples?

May 3rd – An interesting surprise to note one tree near Clayhanger Common this year has been hit heavily by the gall wasp that causes oak apple galls.

These growths – protective structures grown from corrupted leaf buds – house gall wasp larva that will eat their way out of the gall as the season progresses. The corruption is caused by the parent wasp injecting the larva’s egg into the nascent leaf bud covered in a chemical that causes the cells to deform.

It’s one of the odder evolutionary parasitic actions I’ve ever come across and it fascinates me. And it doesn’t seem to affect the tree at all.

One of the more peculiar aspects is all the oak trees around the one affected are completely untouched. But this one is affected more heavily than any I’ve ever seen in my life. There must be several thousand oak apples.

But why just this one tree? A fascinating thing.

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#365daysofbiking In the pink

April 23rd – It’s appropriate for St. George’s day I guess that apple blossom is now out. For all th frilliness and glamour of the ornamental cherries, you really can’t beat traditional apple blossom. Pink and white, it’s a gorgeous spectacle, and very British.

It smells rather nice too.

It’s in hedgerows all over, but this lovely specimen is on the canal between Clayhanger Bridge and the Black Cock.

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#365daysofbiking The secret of pie


July 31st – A drier day, at least. After the deluge of the previous day, it was good to feel the landscape slowly drying in the morning sun.

The lousy summer has at least been good for the fruits: All along the waysides from Brownhills to Darlaston, fruit ids swelling and ripening, from apples to blackberries.

Autumn will soon be upon us – how quickly this season and year have passed.

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#365daysofbiking Flown

July 8th – The galls that formed on the oak trees in spring that looked like rosy apples have now served their purpose and are dead, their bodies spongy and containing many holes where the wasps that grew from larvae within ate their way out to freedom and maturity.

Galls fascinate me: Corruptions of the tree’s buds by a parasitic, tiny wasp, they grow as host to the wasp’s offspring and take many forms.

These expired galls signal the passing of the season and soon we’ll start seeing knapper and artichoke galls which form on acorn buts, but have the same genesis.

Parasites are fascinating.

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#365daysofbiking From mighty oaks

May 3rd – It’s always interesting to watch the variety and spread of oak galls on the trees I pass.

At the moment, rosy red oak apples are developing well, corrupted from leaf buds by the tiny wasp who laid her egg in the bud. Her larvae will hatch inside, done on the inside of the gall and drill their way out when mature.

Fascinating things that don’t harm the tree and continue a millennia old relationship between oak and parasite.

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May 9th – Between the Black Cock and Clayhanger Bridges, not far from the new pond, an apple tree on the canal embankment is in bloom.

If smells absolutely beautiful and is a veritable riot of flowers.

I love how the dominant colour is pure white, but look closely and the buds and petal fringes are pink.

One of the most lovely sights of the season.

April 20th – And so, spring is on her throne at last and summer is booting up.

The speed at which this has happened this year – in no more that a week – has been startling and rather wonderful.

Every day new discoveries, and whilst yesterday, the blossom was just starting, this morning it was showing strongly.

How long I have waited for the light, the warmth and the wonderful burst of life. It was worth the wait.

September 7th – Spotted as I cruised towards Brownhills just off the Lindon Road, a fine crop of bright red, hard crab apples, so ripe they were falling untouched from the tree.

Like previous apples of this type, scraping them with a fingernail revealed the  smelled bitter and acidic, explaining the lack of takers.

I suppose it’s a thing to grow trees and shrubs for the beauty of the fruit and flowers, with no regard to utility of the crop. Which is a bit sad; whenever I see fruit rot like this I feel it’s a pity it can’t be readily used or consumed.

August 9th – But later, I had to go to Telford, and whilst the air of melancholy remained, I couldn’t remain miserable. The weather was heavy, but there was beauty in it, even in the doomed footbridge at Telford Station, which despite it’s faults was a lot drier than the New Street Station I’d come through earlier.

Berries and apples glistened with raindrops. Water dripped from leaf and roof. It was quiet, but softly musical.

The rain doesn’t care for my despair.

However bad the weather, life must go on. And so it it does.

June 26th – A brighter day and on the journey to work, a small mystery.

A huge pine cone, eaten by something, probably a squirrel, lying on the canal towpath near Pleck.

It was lying under an apple tree, with no pines or conifers in sight.

Perhaps the grey bushy-tailed fellows commute a long way these days. 

This year’s apple crop is looking healthy, though…