I have written and re-written this post so many times and still haven't got it right - so I'll take a run at it. If I don't, it'll never get done. It may come out a bit breathless. Apologies. So . . . there I was, out in a North East wind, looking at un-seasonal flowers . . . except I started looking down badger holes instead . . . when I realised a lot of growing is going on in December and I've not been taking proper notice of it because I've been too busy being surprised by surprises.
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And this thought made me widen a project I've been mulling on - which was to select a few trees and follow their growth over the course of a year.
Now, I'll be choosing patches of wild ground too and monitoring them in the same way. (But not the bit in the picture; patches with more variety.)
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Then, Nigel at SILVERTREEDAZE went into a rant about the flailing of hedgerows - which reminded me of my own fury when the local council flailed blackberries from their bushes in September - just as I was about to make jam and bottle fruit ready for Christmas. Our bushes and trees (see how posessive one becomes) still bear the scars left by mechanical flails - and an email from the council promises it'll do it again in May, July and September next year. (Or employ contractors to do it. Council officials emphasise this - it's not them that flail, it's their contractors.) Well, this set me off on another tack. I'd been looking for trees I could stand back from so I could see their developing shape. And I wanted to get close to them too, to photo their opening buds. With the revised plan, I'll be following particular branches; branches which bear the marks of the flails. The results will be less aesthetic - but interesting none the less.
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There is litttle that rouses strong opinion as much as the flailing of hedgerows does. When it happens, I go home miserable because of the devastation (and I see others doing the same). There are branches hanging frayed and broken in the bushes and trees . . . undergrowth is missing . . . it's horrid. But, as the photo of the Alexanders testifies . . . it's hard to keep a good plant down . . . So . . . now it's time to start introducing branches. OAK
(Not as big as it looks in the photo.)
With its chosen branch.
And a large tree with catkins and red twigs. From a distance, the twigs look very red - like a red cloud.
(I don't know what this one is either. I wish I'd started before the leaves fell off!)
Remember these branches well!
There are other trees and bushes lined up . . . for other posts. And they'll have their own year books. (Elsewhere but with links.)
And we'll see what happens.
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