July 28th – The hazel hedge by the canal, between Silver Street pedestrian bridge and Coopers Bridge is heavy with nuts this year – clearly to the joy of the local squirrel population. Thankfully when I spotted these healthy specimens, they grey rodents hadn’t completely stripped the trees of their creamy bounty yet.
But they’re having a jolly good go, bless them.
Still can’t get into my head that w have fruiting hazels growing healthily on what used to be an open, festering refuse tip.
April 11th – There is beauty and positivity in the gloom – the cycleways, verges, edge lands and tracks of Telford are lined with tentative buds and trees coming into early leaf. Nature is just poised to go for it when the warmth comes, just holding it’s breath…
Aren’t we all?
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.
March 21st – Gosh, it was cold this morning. After the warmth of the last week or so, riding out in the early morning in a wind air air temperature just above freezing was a real shock. Just as well, then, that the day was gorgeous with bright sun and blue skies.
The change in temperature hasn’t bothered the trees at all – they’re bursting into life. fresh new green leaves appearing, more every day.
I feel the gladness in my heart that only spring can bring – whatever the temperature!
September 14th – Also prolific at the moment are the squirrels, who are eating for winter. Near the Watermead estate on the towpath by the hazel hedge, the way is littered with expertly nibbled shells, harvested for their fatty, milky goodness by the grey, furry nut-bandits.
There’s a real feeling at the moment of nature preparing to shut down for winter.
August 10th – A remarkable season, and now the fruiting begins in earnest. The wind was gusting hard, and the threat of rain not far away, but I slid out mid afternoon in defiance of Hurricane Bertha (spit). I let the wind blow me along the wet canal to the cyclway over the common – on the way, I noticed what I think are cherries growing ripe on a tree by the Pier Street Bridge. They look rather fat and large to be such gems in Brownhills. Can anyone help there?
There’s also been a remarkably prodigious crop of hazelnuts from the hedge thicket opposite the Watermead estate – but what wasn’t already squirrelled was blown down in the wind; the towpath is thick with nobbled and wind-fallen nuts.
On the cycleway, a similarly bountiful crop of blackberries, and the elderberries too are ripening to a beautiful black-crimson gloss.
Summer coming to an end is always sad, but how can one remain so in the face of such wonderful fruits?
July 12th – At the end of the new Lichfield Southern bypass, just at the A461 end, a hazel thicket. The squirrels don’t seem to have found it yet – it’s absolutely laden with nuts.
A remarkable sight.