July 25th – The thistles are still in flower, but now going over to seed too. This is great for many songbirds like goldfinches who like to eat the seeds, which are spread from the seed heads by the breeze, and to this end are attached to fluffy wind catchers to transport them in the air.
The fluff thistles generate – along with rose bay willowherb, or old man’s beard which is also in seed at the moment, was always called ‘fairies’ when I was a kid, and it was considered lucky to catch a ‘fairy’ on the wind.
They are actually rather beautiful.
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…
November 25th – On a bright, cold winter day, near the M6 Toll in Great Wyrley, clematis seed heads looking very alien in a forgotten, edge-land thicket.
These fascinate me, as no two have quite the same texture or appearance. I bet these were an absolute riot when they were in flower. I must come here next summer and see.
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.
July 2nd – In Darlaston, a gentle precipitation; sweet-smelling, light, and coating all it touches. It’s pukh.
Pukh is a downy fluff produced by female poplar trees, not unlike the blossom fluff produced by sallows; I noticed today the Owen Street in Darlaston was coated with fuff. I’ve seen it before – Pitsford Street in the Jewellery Quarter used to be swept with clouds of the stuff in a good year, but rarely as uniform and snow-like as this.
It’ll be interesting to see if the rains washed it away.