BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Darlaston’

#365daysofbiking Inhaling green

August 16th – Another place I love is Kings Hill Park in Darlaston, one of Walsall’s little known, minor parks.

Sadly in the last couple of years it’s not had the maintenance it formerly had, with resources going to the borough’s ‘Green Flag’ parks instead: We no longer get the planters maintained as beautifully, and the attention to upkeep is more cursory.

However it’s still beautiful and has some gorgeous flowers – just not so many as it did, sadly.

To be here, seeking space from work on a wet, blustery summer day, in peace and quiet with industry just metres away, is bliss. You can stand here, take five and just inhale the green.

A beautiful park, a credit to the town and those who care for it, but it needs more resources sparing for it.

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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 Sweet rain

July 18th – A flower which I’m convinced has had me puzzling before is St. john’s Wort. This tidy, bushy shrub is planted ornamentally on a lot of industrial estates, and I never identify with it as being British – it seems exotic.

Also when people talk about wort I always think off plants like ragwort, or sticky wort.

Having caught the morning’s showers the whole bush glistened and shimmered. A coating of raindrops can only ever add to a plant’s appeal, after all…

Thanks to everyone on Facebook who helped me identify this one.

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#365daysofbiking Dark centre

July 18th – Yesterday, I found a plant that I considered may be wild carrot due to the presence of a tiny, dark flower in the centre of it’s otherwise creamy white umbrel. I wrote:

The reason I think this is wild carrot is the presence of a tiny dark flower in the centre of the head to attract insects – I’ll have another look tomorrow to verify this.

That is definitely a tiny, dark purple flower, so this plant is indeed wild carrot. Another baffling, wondrous feature you have to wonder the path towards.

This lovely wildflower was certainly keeping the overflies busy too.

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#365daysofbiking There’s always carrots

July 17th – Looking back over previous years, this prolific plant in various places has been puzzling me for ages – but I think I’ve sussed it: It’s possibly Queen Anne’s lace, or wild carrot.

This example was growing on the industrial estate where I work near Darlaston.

It looks a lot like the familiar cow parsley, but isn’t: The shape is all wrong.

The reason I think this is wild carrot is the presence of a tiny dark flower in the centre of the head to attract insects – I’ll have another look tomorrow to verify this. The plant itself is edible like normal carrots, but only when young. It has a variety of folkloric uses, including as a contraceptive, apparently.

I think I’m closer to solving this one.

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#365daysofbiking From little acorns

July 15th – More galls: I mentioned knopper galls recently and pointed out these wasp galls deform acorn buds to form a home for the wasp larva within. I found an illustration of this in Victoria Park Darlaston.

This is a knapper gall starting to form. The acorn cap is normal, but where the smooth, rounded nascent acorn should be, there is a knobbly, textured growth which will expand to form the gall.

The DNA of the acorn has literally been corrupted or reformed to grow a home for the wasp egg within by a chemical the egg was coated with.

How does such a mechanism evolve? It’s truly wonderful.

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#365daysofbiking Blackbirds and bees

July 2nd – On the same industrial estate, a treat for the bees and bugs is blooming beautifully – cotoneaster, a stable of urban hedgerows and borders.

The tiny pink-red flowers are a bee magnet and every bush is alive with visiting insects, but not just that: These flowers turn into sugar-laden orange-red berries beloved of blackbirds and other songbirds in autumn, helping get the avian locals through winter.

Everywhere you look right now, nature is helping itself get along. It really is beautiful.

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#365daysofbiking Hovering hawks

July 2nd – On a grass verge on an industrial estate near Darlaston, hoverflies  were busy pollinating the hawkweed flower – and both the flower and fly are overlooked stalwarts.

Hawkweed in all it’s forms is a common, bright splash of colour in town and country alike, and is a dweeler of the edgeland, wasteland and verge doing nothing more than providing beautiful flowers. Sadly often regarded as a weed or mistaken for dandelions, it gets sadly passed by but really is worth a look.

The hoverflies are one of the important pollinators, and although disguised to look like bees or wasps for protection from predators, they’re totally harmless.

Two unsung heroes, supporting each other…

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#365daysofbiking Hog wild

June 18th – I’d been alerted by the works security system in the night to movement in the yard on CCTV. When I checked it out, two large hedgehogs were courting in the back near the grass where we have a park bench and some grass for time out and the smokers. I watched them with interest as I didn’t know we had hogs at work.

Coincidentally, at work later the groundsmen came to trim the scrub back behind the premises and disturbed this young hoglet, clearly not one of the lovers from the night before.

Cat treats were sought, and the little prickly one ate a large hearty meal before retreating back to the quiet end of the scrub.

Nice to see them about considering the way the population of these charming creatures is suffering of recent years.

Drivers and workers now have signs and instructions to watch for hogs crossing!

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#365daysofbiking Park life

June 14th – A dry commute to work (but sadly, not back) was a novelty. It was grey, and I never felt quite safe from the threatening skies but the blessed absence of rain was nice.

Victoria Park in Darlaston looks lush and green as one would expect in such a wet season. The mystic bridge I stood on to take photos from, however, was slippery with algae and lethal, so take care!

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