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Friday, 17 October 2014


Usually I show you plants. I'm going to show you plants now.

Usually the pictures are silent. You don't know what I hear. What you may not realise is that in one of my favourite spots for plants, if I pop up below hedge level the sea is what I see. Often it's silent because this bit of sea is contained within a massive harbour. But today it was noisy. So were the birds. But the birds were boring. They were taking it in turns to sing or croak or caw. There were Dunnocks. (Pretty.) I think there were Robins. (The best singers of all.) There were magpies squabbling and crows shouting randomly in what they may have thought was a chorus. So I decided that in terms of a sound-scape the sea was best of all. After a couple of minutes of magpies I want to ask in an irritated way if that's all they have to say. Click, click, shriek, click. But I never tire of the sea.

Here, then is a sound track to go with the pictures. I'll not say much about the plants in thm. They're the kind you are familiar with on Loose and Leafy. So I'll leave you to listen to the sea while you scroll down the page. If you don't have the kind of computer which can cope with video clips I apologise. You'll have to imagine a gentle but persistent hum rising and falling with the wind interfering every now and then.

Skeleton of umbrel against a dark sky

This is one of those plants one forgets what they are once the flowers have gone. At least I do. I find white umbeliferous plants hard to identify even in the summer.

(To see what this seed head looked like in September, click here. You'll see some seeds are still hanging on.)

Two fallen haws on muddy ground

Haws are falling.

Quite a lot of them are still on the trees. They are crinkling up and going brown and waggling around on their branches because they are camera shy and the wind is rising.

Ivy flowers and Common Orange Lichen (Xanthoria parietina)
The round things are ivy flowers. Another mystery.

Lichen which is orange (I'd say yellow but it's called Common Orange Lichen - Xanthoria parietina) is changing to green as it gets wet in the rain and general autumn dampness. When the weather is dry, it reverts to yellow. If you look carefully you'll see the lichen on the upper part of the branch is greener than the lower part. In the summer all of this was a mixture of bright orange and yellow. (Here's a picture I took of the same lichen on a nearby branch on a dry day in January last year.)

Do I understand what lichen is? No. To me it's a science fiction creature (I say this every time because I don't get much further forward it's sort of unbelievable - a combination of algae and fungus. When it's damp the algae element (green) shows through the fungal element which contains a chemical (xanthorin) which protects it against the UV rays in sunshine. 

Shrivlled remains from which blackberries have fallen
This is what flowers come to!

Blackberries are falling, leaving brown whirls behind. They look rubbish from a distance but are beautiful close to. (You might want to click the picture to enlarge it.)

Sycamore tree growing under ground in a kerbside drain

And on the way home, out of the way of the sea, the sycamore in a drain we've been following for the last couple of years. It looks a bit tatty but autumn hasn't reached underground just yet.

* * *

Xantharia parietina on Nature Spot
Xanthoria parietina on Wikipedia (if you're in the mood for really, really concentrating).

Tuesday, 7 October 2014


Buddleia flowers die and Old Man's Beard catches the eye
Buddleia flowers are dying.
Many of these skeletons will hang from their trees all winter.
September 24th 2014 
This is about the daftess thing ever. How could I not realise the 7th was so close?

I woke up this morning, pottered around making tea and watching the news on the television.  I looked out at the day. Murky at first but brightening. Maybe for the first time in ages I'd take pictures of my tree in sunlight instead of dingy-about-to-rain-ness ready for tomorrow's Tree Following. First though I'd check emails.

In the bottom right of my screen is a little calendar.

It says it's the 7th.

So I'm springing into embarrassed action. Here's the rushed link box - accompanied as yet by no introductory text or pictures or anything except panic.

Will vamp it up later.

Million apologies! Here!
(The box will stay open for new entries until 7pm on the 14th October 2914 (UK time.)

I'm Following a Tree. To find out more about Tree Following click the tree..

Message From a Tree Follower
Linda of Linda's Wildlife Garden has sent a message to let us know she is not posting about her apple trees this month. She is being evicted from her home and is too busy house hunting to blog. With a family of Linda, her husband and her three dogs this is not an easy task. Best wishes Linda. May you find somewhere soon.