May 16th – One thing that was a real surprise on a late return from work was that the lupins on the canal at Clayhanger are in bloom already.
After a really brutal, hard day and a weary, late evening battle home into the wind, finding these beauties next to the towpath was a real spiritual boost.
Sometimes, you just need a little beauty in your life. And something a wonderful shade of purple.
May16th – I note the annual appearance of lupins with interest; growing near Clayhanger Bridge on the canal bank, the purple always bloom before the pink and white; and I don’t suppose they are really but they seem very early this year.
Still, it’s lovely to have them back, and to note the start of the rash of purple flowers coming soon – vetch, marsh orchids and others.
There’s something new every day right now. I love summer’s first breath.
August 27th – The rain held off while I visited the Festival of Water at Pelsall, photos of which are on my main blog here, but I caught the warm rain on the way home, and didn’t really mind.
I explored the North Common which I hadn’t done for years, and for an ex-industrial wasteland, it’s a beautiful place with great biodiversity. Rabbits, mustelids and birds are flourishing here, wild sweetpea still in flower, while willow herb and butter and eggs added additional colour. A huge crop of crab apples hangs from branches, although due to the nature of the ground, I wouldn’t prepare anything edible from them.
A rare treat and well worth exploring, even on a wet day.
June 6th – On the canal near Clayhanger, it’s good to see the lupins out. A sign of summer, they spread welcome colour to towpaths, embankments and wastelands across the country.
The flowers are so beautifully constructed, and the bees seem to love them too.
August 21st – It was a grey, damp Friday afternoon, and it felt more like October than August, and after a few grey, wet days I noticed the little meadow near the new pond at Clayhanger had lost all of it’s summer colour suddenly, like switching off a light.
All was not lost, though, as there are still wildflowers nearby – toadflax and honeysuckle are still showing well, and damsons and apples are adding autumn colour. Even a confused lupin was bright in the gloom.
Autumn can wait just a little while, can’t it?
June 16th – A remarkable year for wildflowers, and the lupins in particular have been spectacular. At the wasteland at the bottom of Bentley Mill Way between Darlaston and Pleck they’re blending with gorse and other wildflowers to bring a welcome splash of colour in unexpected places.
The downy seed pods are fascinating too.
June 6th – A pootle into Birmingham through Sutton Park, down past Witton Lakes and on the canal through Aston. I returned on the canal to Smetwick, then up through the Sandwell Valley and home.
The wind was fearsome and this was a wolf of a day again – but the canals looked fine and it cheered me up no end.
I loved the swan des res on WItton Lakes – a great idea for a safe nesting site!
The geese are really aggressive at the moment. The one that drew blood pecking my ankle really wasn’t messing about – so take care!
May 24th – The wildflowers and blossom are wonderful this year. On my way to Aldridge along the canal, I saw lots of hawthorn, cow parsley and my first flag iris of the year. I think the pink and violet ones are columbine or granny’s bonnet. The lupins are also superb.
Here goes the yearly uncertainty over flower identification. Ah well, down the hatch.