365daysofbiking Buttered up:
October 5th – I said a good few weeks ago now that butter and eggs, or toadflax is one of the harbingers of summer’s end: When it comes into flower, you know the season is at an end.
Still going strong in early October, it’s one of the few things still in flower, resolutely brightening the canal towpaths, edgelands and hedgerows.
A beautiful, but sad flower.
June 12th – Passing the embankment of the new pond at Clayhanger I noticed that the kidney vetch is showing well this year. One of only two places I can think of that it grows locally, this plant, once thought to be good for healing wounds, is profuse in the sandy soil of the embankment.
Consisting of individual flowers on a fluffy, down covered flower head, it’s a storage and very beautiful wayside delight at this time of year.
May 31st – A very poor photo with lousy focus, but another first for the season: My beloved beauties the orchids are coming into bloom.
They don’t last long, so keep an eye out on canal embankments, meadows and wetlands. We have a number of varieties, and these mall flowers are always tiny perfection.
The slug seemed to be enjoying them too – this example was on the bank of the new pond at Clayhanger.
May 2nd – Further up the canal, at the new pond in Clayhanger, the pear blossom is very strong and fulsome this year – since we’re now hopefully too late for a frost, we might have a decent crop this year.
The canal itself is beautiful at the moment in shades of bright green – with the rare glimpse of blue sky and such gorgeous blossom it’s possible to convince yourself that this morning had to be the last of the bad weather and summer might finally be coming…
January 17th – It was a nice day on the canal, and as I came past Lathams Bridge on the way home, I couldn’t resist a couple of peaceful shots of the waterway. The marina doesn’t seem very busy at the moment, I must say, but the view is as lovely and serene as ever. You wouldn’t think you were only tens of metres from a busy, large marl pit and a bustling chemical waste transfer and treatment facility.
The new pond at Clayhanger, this year will be thirty years mature and no longer new is looking stark but beautiful, with the last of the previous night’s snow still hanging on on the shaded bank. I wonder how many times I’ve parked my bike and sat on that bench over the years? At least ten different bikes and it must be hundreds of times. Looking at the rot, I don’t think it’ll stand many more…
June 2nd – The orchids are really prolific and pretty this year, I’m very glad to say. In many shades of blue and purple these small, dense blooms are springing up all along the canals, heaths and wetlands.
These were at the canal by the new pond in Clayhanger. Look at the markings on the petals – absolutely gorgeous.
They’re not with us for long, so get and see them while you can.
April 20th – Further on, Clayhanger Common is greening over a treat: the bench by the canal overlooking the new pond is once more watching over a sea of verdant green, and the pear tree there is in blossom, too.
Near the canal overflow, the foliage and creeper archway over the desire path onto the common there has delightfully regrown this year, and that makes me happy. It’s a lovely accidental feature of the common I don’t think anyone’s noticed much.
Spring, you’re so welcome…
June 23rd – By the new pond at Clayhanger, the pear tree I found last year seems to have a reasonable crop, but it’s under attack from something bruising or otherwise damaging the fruit.
I’ve not seen anything like this before; the pears grown here last year were small, but well formed and without blemishes.
My grandfather used to say that a late frost catching the fruit blossom would ruin a crop. I wonder if this is what that looks like – after all, we did have a late and quite heavy frost this year?