BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘planting’

#365daysofbiking First

Wednesday March 30th 2021 – Sorry for the grainy phone photo, but I found something on my way home tonight on Clayhanger Common that always fills me with joy.

First cowslip of the year.

I know cowslips will never win any wards for complexity or outstanding beauty, but these humble members of the primrose family are so gorgeous, and herald the spring like no other flower.

Coming as the daffodils fade, they assure you that summer is indeed on its way, and when I was a child, were very rare in these parts.

Thankfully, due to declining weedkiller use, improved habitats, and guerrilla seed scatterers like me, Clayhanger Common and other grassy areas are now awash with this wonderful wildflower.

Seeing the first one of the year is always a joy to the very soul.

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#365daysofbiking Until next year, my springtime companions


May 20th – On the subject of things yellow, a seasonal sadness.

I guess it’s coming on summer now, and the first flush of flowering is well and truly over: the daffodils and tulips are long behind us, and late spring flowers like bluebells are dying off – as is my personal favourite, the cowslip.

Cowslips for me epitomise spring and the optimism of a new growing year; bright yellow, delicate and prolific now, they were once rare and I cherish seeing them as I ride around the area.

The ones I set on by guerrilla seeding at Clayhanger are going to seed now and I’ll have to wait 11 months to see these jolly characters again. But it’s be oh so worth the wait.

In the meantime I’ll carefully watch the seed heads develop and dry until the precious seed within is ready to collect, and I’ll gather a fair amount and sprinkle it in places where I think we need more springtime joy.

Until next year, my springtime companions. Until next year.

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April 26th – Clayhanger Common,early morning, not long after dawn.

Yellow army I surreptitiously helped establish here is massing around the grassland. Standing proud, in defiance of the land’s former history as a rubbish tip.

These flowers are a symbol of great progress, undercover as bright yellow, beautiful spring sentries.

May their invasion recur every year without resistance being encountered.

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 14th – Further on, still nestling in green, the countryside of Stonnall is beautiful. The harvest is largely over, with just maize and potatoes left in the fields, and the machinery one now sees in the lanes is for ploughing, harrowing and seeding. Near Stonnall itself, the oilseed rape fields are already growing a new crop.

And so, the seasonal wheel turns. As the cold, darkness and winter come on, these fields will slumber until reawakening in spring. It’s all part of the cycle, and the cycle is round.

It’s not been a bad summer. Just wish it had been longer…

July 17th – Time for my annual botanically subversive mission: spreading the cowslip love.

After the usual delightful display in the spring, my favourite flowers have finally started to seed. I carefully collect the seed heads in a bag, shaking the seeds into it. 

When I have plenty, I carefully spread the seeds on hedgerows, verges and anywhere that would benefit from springtime cowslips.

Guerilla seeding. Do something pretty while you can. 

July 1st – Between the railway line and the the backlane into Shenstone, a curiously planted field corner, laid in neat rows. I couldn’t see what the crop was from the road, and it piqued my interest, so I took a zoom shot.

Turns out to be carrots, with what looks like wheat growing thickly between them.

I’ve only ever seen one other field of carrots locally, and that was at the top of Lazy Hill. I’ll be interested to see how these develop and how they’re harvested.

March 21st – Passing the fields at the Shelfield end of Green Lane, I smelt the delicious, dark smell of freshly turned earth, and noticed the field near the Mob Lane junction had been ploughed, harrowed and planted.

I noted a lot of fields locally have been ploughed in the last week or so. Perhaps farmers now feel they’re clear enough of winter to risk spring planting.

So beautiful to see the brown fields, full of promise for a new growing season.

July 27th – It’s the time of year when I dread getting stopped by the police.

The cowslips I loved so much in the spring are now seeding, and I have in my pocket a growing bag of little black seeds, like these. I pluck a seed head or two from each clump (careful to leave enough to seed next year), and collect the wee black dots that shake out.

When I have a decent quantity, I’ll spread a few new patches in barren spots or places that would benefit from a little cowslip love.

These flowers cheer me so much, it’s like repaying my debt to them. I invite you to do the same.

April 11th – A short trip to Chasewater on an unpleasantly windy day was rewarded with the realisation that I’d had a guerrilla-planting success: last autumn, I scattered a load of wild cowslip seeds at Anglesey Basin: this year, a pleasant patch of my favourite flowers.

If we enjoy these things, help them out by spreading the love. I collect seed heads in little bags and spread them on wasteland and verges, then enjoy the results.

Wild flower power!