BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘bloom’

#365daysofbiking – Small but positive signs

February 6th – the signs of the nascent spring are all around in the little things. Grass starting to grow again. Snowdrops. Gorse flower. Spring flower shoots. Easter primroses.

And hazel catkins, which although we pass without thought generally, are actually really gorgeous if one studies them, closely.

Spring is in the air, and just a wee bit in my step too.

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#365daysofbiking Chilled out

May 18th – On a quiet afternoon following the busy and better than expected Brownhills canal festival (pictures on my main blog here) I slipped out for a circuit of Brownhills after some mechanical fine tuning.

It was grey, but warm and pleasant with little wind. My favourite tree at Home Farm, Sandhills visible as a landmark across the fields from Catshill is in blossom. Such a joy to see. Bet there will be a good crop of conkers this year.

Further up, the mystery family of swans that appear to have nested beyond public sight near Freeth Bridge, Newtown were resting in a canalside garden – family of 8 clearly doing well. Lovely.

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#365daysofbiking Scum

May 2nd – There are many reasons why the local canals develop an organic, natural scum throughout the year. From pollens to seeds, from tree-mast to algae, all kinds of unpleasant looking but natural detritus develops and dissipates throughout the seasons.

Due to the early spring warmth and extended spring, at the moment there’s a very heavy scum  on much of the local canal, but particularly in the wind-traps around Walsall Wood and Clayhanger. At he moment it’s mostly appearing to be a combination of reedmace detritus, algae, sallow seeds, disintegrated hazel, alder and birch catkins and hawthorn blossom petals. I’ve never seen a scum so heavy at this time of year.

Given time and sun it should dissipate and fade away. but for the moment, it’s quite ugly but perfectly natural.

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#365daysofbiking Of course – gorse!

January 31st – on the way to work on a grim, cold morning, the familiar sight of gorse flowers on waste ground near Bentley Mill Way surprised and delighted me. I’m never really sure of the difference between gorse and broom, but the bright yellow flowers – in bloom before Christmas – seem to be around forever and smell pleasingly of coconut.

Such a lovely sight on a cold, grey day.

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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.