May 21st – A weary day at work, but better in myself, I had things to do for work in Tipton, and on my return, rode the canals all the way back to Goscote.
Another fine day, the sallow fluff – shed from this peculiar tree’s blooms – was making me sneeze and coating everything in a ghostly grey fur.
It is curious, though. This relative of the willow is clearly having a very good year…
January 31st – One of the sure signs of a change in season from winter to spring is the appearance of various types of catkins, which are most commonly seen at this time of year on hazel trees, or in the case of these long ones, alder.
Alder is curious in that the buds you can see are also flows, the large blooms are male, and those female.
The word catkin is likely to have come from the Dutch Kateken, meaning kitten – due to the resemblance to kitten’s tails.
Catkins emerge this time of year as they’re wind pollinating, and emergence after coming into leaf would hamper pollination.
May 21st – Also out in abundance was the sallow, which is shedding heavily and coating canals, tracks and lanes in clumps of soft fluff.
This isn’t such good news for me, as the damned stuff makes me sneeze, but it is rather fascinating.
If you see you local waterway coated in scum in the next few days, don’t assume the pollution is man-made, it may well be your local trees, doing their fluffy thing…
April 20th – A better day, recovered now. Returning home on the canal near Aldridge, I noticed the swallows are coming into bloom. These green, spiky flowers will in turn turn into seed heads, and spread fluff over the area, irritating noses and car enthusiasts alike. A relative of the willow, they’re fascinating plants with a stunning seeding method.
April 11th – In the soft light of a windy but sunny afternoon, the canals are looking great; Here near Clayhanger Bridge the hedgerows and thickets are showing bright green and very, very fresh – but not just that, they’re as alive with songbirds as the waterway is with waterfowl.
Everywhere you look, the environment is teeming with life at the moment, either fresh new leaves, blossom or nesting birds. Such a joyous, beautiful time of year.
Just wish the wind would ease up a bit…
June 26th – Passing quickly through Brownhills to catch the Canalside Festival, I noted how lovely the planters were again this year for Brownhills in Bloom. The annual entry to a competition, the baskets and tubs are filled and planted by a mixture of traders, volunteers and folk from the Brownhills Town Centre Partnership.
They do cracking work and on behalf of Brownhills, I’d like to say thanks to everyone involved.