March 29th – Again returning from Shenstone, again it was raining as as I alighted from the train. My heart was heavy and I didn’t fancy the wet ride home but something caught my eye in the shrub border to the platform.
An ornamental blackcurrant, in flower. It was dripping with rain, but that glorious pinky red was most vivid in the gloom. And for that, it made me happy.
November 14th – Urban planners and groundsmen seem to like ornamental cherry trees. They grace town centres, open spaces, park and industrial estates. They don’t go particularly wild, take little care and offer beautiful blossom in spring, and gorgeous leaf colours in autumn, like these at Hortonwood.
They certainly brightened my day on a very, very dull morning.
September 19th n- One of the odder fruits of the autumn is the snowberry. Serving only as bird food, this ornamental shrub, like firethorn, is often used for ornamentation in public parks, edge lands, industrial estate landscaping and so on.
As far as I can tell, the birds seem to like the white berries that make a distinctive popping sound when stepped on or thrown hard at the floor, and the bees certainly like the pink and white flowers, still very much in evidence on the same shrubs as the large, healthy-looking fruit.
Snowberry will grow with little attention needed and does look pretty, especially when dappled by dew, as these examples in the centre of Darlaston attest.
May 25th – Not a brilliant shot but something I’ve not seen growing wild in the UK before – ornamental alliums. These are pretty much onions, similar to wild garlic etc, and several less ornate relatives are common, but I’ve never seen these large, purple globes before outside of gardens.
They’re growing well on the grass edge land at Sandhills, just by Home Farm. I was fascinated to find them.
October 16th – Spotted in Wednesbury, a whole line of snowberry bushes. These low, still flowering shrubs are peppered with the globular, white berries that look quite beautiful.
I know of no other fruit like it. I assume it’s an import for ornamental reasons. It’s certainly one of the markers of autumn.