August 7th – Also showing a good, plump and juicy crop this year are the blackberries, so profuse at the moment, everywhere I go they’re so ripe they’re falling off the brambles. I see plenty of folks picking them, but there are just so many.
If you’re a crumble fan, get out there. These wonderful fruits are fee and so sweet and tasty this year.
July 24th – It seems early for blackberries to be ripening in such quantities right now, but they are. I think in reality we’re maybe only a week or two ahead of schedule, but it just seems wrong.
The foragers and animals won’t mind though – this juicy, black-red sugar laden fruit will sustain many a bird or rodent and make for many a decent pudding the the coming month or so.
Again, it seems like a good crop too.
July 6th – Well, all week now I’ve been talking about the onset of the fruiting season, and here it is: The first blackberries are beginning to ripen near Clayhanger.
Not sure how good they’ll be though with the chronic lack of rainfall this summer: no chance to swell those lovely purple-black berries.
It’ll be interesting to see if the end crop is as early as it feels, and if the fruit are any good…
August 2nd – I suspect you readers might be getting fed up with my obsession with swans, but with several local broods this year it’s made me more aware of these fascinating birds and their habits.
This afternoon, the Catshill brood – still at an impressive seven plus mum and dad – were on the canal between Catshill Junction and the Pier Street bridge, just to the rear of Lindon Drive.
They were doing something I never knew that swans would do – they were eating blackberries from brambles growing at the canal side. The youngsters were positively devouring the fruit.
I never knew they ate such things.
When they realised I was watching, they regrouped, and headed off.
July 22nd – I think this must be the earliest I’ve ever seen ripe blackberries – albeit in small numbers. It’s so early in the season for them, I couldn’t quite believe it. Rosehips, too – summer is definitely cranking on a notch. With the bright sunshine and very warm days of late, so much fruit is ripening.
This is definitely one of the best summers for a good few years. Get out and enjoy it – it’s stunning.
June 15th – The flora was also showing well, and the blackberry and dewberry brambles are flowering intensely this year – so if we get a nice few days with plenty of bees and bugs, there should be another ample crop of blackberries this autumn. The lovely, paper-white flowers are rarely studied closely, such is their proliferation, but they are most delicate, attractive things.
I was also pleased to note that following the great marsh orchid massacre – where the plants I had been lovingly watching were mown off by a C&RT grass cutting crew a week or so ago – another abundant patch seems to be growing on the slope down to the new pond at Clayhanger.
I love those orchids. I never saw anything like them here when I was younger, and cherish them as a sign of how much better the ecology generally is around here these days.
August 14th – Spotted at Little Aston – the first ripe blackberries of the year. Note the tighter structure. These are a little hairy, and I suspect they’re a hybrid, but the fruit was firm and smelt divine.
There’s an absolute feast out there at the moment. Never seen fruiting like it.
July 30th – The ripening is noticeable everywhere. Returning from Shenstone, the fields of wheat and oilseed rape were losing their last vestiges of green; not yet ready to harvest, but well on the way. The golden colour is welcome and is like late summer’s coat; the countryside is replete in golds, beige and dark, dark green.
Also doing well, the bramble fruits – dewberry and blackberry – are turning red, and the parsnips growing at Sandhills look in fine fettle.
Doesn’t look like it was such a bad season, after all.