BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘rose’

#365daysofbiking Making the best of things

September 22nd – Dejected and wistful, we pottered up the old line into Birmingham, through Oldbury. The rain held off. The flowers and berries that were out welcomed us and glistened in there coating of raindrops. The towpaths were wet, but made for good riding. There were few people around, and the verdant, still mostly green canals were a real tonic.

Past the old engine house, Tollhouse Loop, M5 Viaduct and engine arm, and into central Birmingham. The mood improved.

An interesting graffiti writer had been at work, leaving neat-script, cryptic phrases at intervals from the Soho Loop to the ICC. That was engaging and something to spot and ponder over.

At the city centre, food, drink, then up the A34 cycleway to the canal at Perry Barr, and home via Ray Hall and Rushall Junction.

A bad day had been pulled around. The rain held off. Deep down, it didn’t feel so bad. But I’m getting far too old to work weekends – I was exhausted.

But there was one inescapable thought – if those folk at Tipton had held on, they’d have had a decent afternoon.

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#365daysofbiking Sugar me

September 2nd – Another product of wayside roses that’s beautiful but dare I say it, a little more mundane: The sugar-laden rosehips.

Rosehips are loved by jam, syrup and wine makers and, of course, many birds who devour the energy laden confections to fatten up for winter – and thankfully there seems to be a good crop this year.

They are beautiful colours, too…

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#365daysofbiking Interdependence


September 2nd – The Darlaston Robins Pincushion Galls are looking really amazing right now – the one on the main ‘trunk’ (stalk? Branch?) of the wild rose is the largest I’ve ever seen, and still growing – now the size of a tennis ball, but elongated. On the outer leaves, the one that clearly misfired across multiple leaf nodes is causing odd, isolated patches of gall growth on leaves and twigs that look almost tumourous in nature.

This is an absolutely fascinating thing and I make no apologies for regularly featuring it. This is part of the wasp gall’s lifecycle and it’s absolutely stunning that such a tiny insect should co-opt and corrupt the growth of a plant to create such a host for its larva.

Amazing stuff.

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#365daysofbiking Corruption

August 21st – My goodness, this is strange.

Y’all know I love and am fascinated by insect galls, right? Well the robins pincushion galls on the wild rose I’ve been watching grow for weeks just took an odd turn.

There are several galls on the same rose now, the only plant in the thicket to be affected. Most of the galls are large, colourful and dramatic. But one weedy little on at the end of a twig seems to have got into a bit of a mess.

The photo isn’t great, but one can see that corruption from the implanted wasp egg has not been concentrated in one leaf node; it’s spread to several and there are bright red patches of furry spines all over the adjacent leaves.

Wonder what went wrong there?

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#365daysofbiking And then, there were three

July 29th -An old boss used to get really annoyed with me if I came in after a wet weekend moaning that the following Monday morning weather was sunny, because I was stuck at work.

He’d point out I’d be even more miserable had the commute been wet and cold.

He was right.

I noted that the robins pincushion galls I’d found a couple of weeks ago had expanded in number to three, and that they were growing well, showing lovely colours in the strong morning sun.

I felt sad I was indoors for most of the day. But old John was right, it was a whole bunch better than had today been like Sunday.

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#365daysofbiking Herbivore

July 15th – The flowers continue to appear daily. Rosebay willowherb is the latest – a beautiful, tall weed, it paints wasteland, hedgerows, scrubs and derelict land with a beautiful hade of purple, complimenting the buddleia which it competes against for light and space.

In a few weeks it will seed with fluffy, wind-born seeds that float on the breeze and were locally known as ‘fairies’ when I was a kid, hence it’s colloquial name ‘Old man’s beard’.

We really should look more closely at the plants we dismiss as weeds.

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#365daysofbiking A rose between two thorns

May 7th – Further up the canal at Bentley Bridge near Darlaston Green, another sign of spring: The roses are flowering on the edge of the canal – rather poetically between scrapyards either side of the canal, between which the green vein of the canal ambles, being beautiful.

The roses smell gorgeous and are a true joy to the heart in such grey times.

I don’t know where the warmth and sun are hiding but we could do with them back. But in the meantime, this is a wonderful burst of brightness for sure.

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#365daysofbiking Galling:

October 17th – I’ve been casually interested into the decomposition of the robin’s pincushion gall I found in the summer in Darlaston.

This once beautiful red and green hairy, spiny gall – created by a tiny wasp laying it’s DNA corrupting eggs in the rose leaf buds of it’s host – is now decaying fast and I’m interested to see how this ball of plant matter wastes away, and if it shows any evidence of the adult gall wasps escaping to freedom.

I’ll never stop being fascinated by these things.

#365daysofbiking Farewell wellfare:

September 16th – The rain steadily increased, and I headed up the gorgeous Cross o’ th’ Hand lane to Farewell, where I called in at the church in steady rain.

Farewell church, possibly dating back in part to the 1400s (some say earlier) is gorgeous and the rain enhanced the sad beauty of the roses in the graveyard.

A sad day punctuated with great beauty.