BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Nettle’

#365daysofbiking Angels of the hedgerows

April 10th – Another working from home day – indeed, it was Good Friday, so I took off for an exercise ride at teatime. The lanes and tracks of Stonnall, Shenstone, Raikes and Hilton were warm and quiet. I saw the odd fellow cyclist, or runner. But mostly it was just me, the birds and the flowers.

The stunning yellow archangel is looking gorgeous at Footherley again this year – a relative of the nettle, I hadn’t noticed it for years, and then it seemed I couldn’t stop spotting it in places where I must have seen it before, but never noticed it.

The grape hyacinths – muscari – are also like little shocks of blue in the hedgerows and gardens I slid past.

We may be locked down, but the riding is surprisingly good at the moment.

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#365daysofbiking Not dead, but flowering

April 26th – Following my note on finding some lovely yellow archangel flowers in Footherley a few days ago, I need that it was a member of the nettle family – and to prove the similarity, the dead nettles are looking gorgeous on Clayhanger Common at the moment.

The flowers and leaves are similar – the colour is the big difference though.

These nettles – which have no sting, hence the name ‘dead nettle’ – have very sweet, tasty nectar which can be sucked from a plucked flower, but probably best to find some above dog pee height before trying it out…

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#365daysofbiking No danger

March 21st – A remarkable early riser at the moment in this early and temperate spring is the purple dead-nettle. Not usually seen until mid April around here, there are lovely little mauve-pink patches of this small plant in scrubs, commons, heaths, hedgerows and towpaths everywhere I go.

It doesn’t sting, and I love how the upper leaves have a red colour that compliments the delicate blooms.

In the last couple of years I’ve really come to appreciate nettles – yellow archangel is another member of the family which will soon appear and it’s stunningly beautiful too.

A real gem.

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#365daysofbiking – Not dead yet:

September 23rd – I said the other day that there were not many flowers about at the moment, and I hold my hands up: I wasn’t looking hard enough.

Coming into a second flush of flowering now, the dead nettles on Clayhanger Common are having one last yahoo before winter.

Absolutely gorgeous as only they could be. Such a cheering sight.

October 4th – I was surprised to note that the warm autumn, which has seen dead-nettles enter a second flowering cycle, odd aberrations of occasional foxgloves still in bloom and dandelions still out in pastures has resulted in some unusual sights, but I was surprised to note this ladybird still quite active on Clayhanger Common.

One thing’s for sure – when the cold sets in, it’ll be a shock to the system…

May 6th -Not far away, but still on the Goscote Valley cycleway, the dead nettles are doing well. These fellows have no sting, and can be touched freely. They hold a sweet, tasty secret.

The blooms can be plucked from the plant, and the small neck of the bloom sucked for the nectar it contains, which is sweet and tasty.

May 17th – Spring wends onward, despite somewhat indifferent weather. A late afternoon spin rewarded me with beautiful dead nettles and forget-me-nots. As a kid I can remember plucking the white blooms from the dead nettles and sucking the sweet, tasty nectar from the base of the blossom.

These days, I’d be careful to choose nettles from above dog leg height.

Meerash Hill at Hammerwich is a carpet of familiar, fluorescent yellow, and Mrs. Swan sits patiently with no little dignity on the nest at the Watermead in Brownhills, whilst just up the canal bank, Mr. Goose stood guard with paternal pride as his brood explored.

I love this time of year.