Documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say!

Friday, 22 February 2013

SPRING AND AUTUMN - CAN WE TELL THE DIFFERENCE?

Reed against grey sky.
Always, at this time of year, I go looking for what's left of autumn.

Usually, this means taking photos of leaves which have survived the winter, disintegrated flowers that never fell. That kind of thing. It's my version of spring cleaning.

And, as usual, at the moment I chose (which is another way of saying the only one I had available) the weather was dull. I fiddled around a bit, trying to make visible for the blog things which my eyes could barely make out in the gloom. Not a great success! So I turned the camera round the other way and decided on silhouettes instead. It was only when I got home and looked at the results that I decided the shapes I like so much weren't, on this occasion, the most interesting things there. What I had been seeing as the old stuff was really the new stuff held back from autumn and made ready and ripe for the spring. (Wonderfully scientific language on Loose and Leafy!)

Bramble from which blackberries have dropped, leaving their cups behind.



I'd previously thought of dessicated blackberries as the fruits summer forgot.

The remains of willow herb seeds.




I'd seen old willow herb shapes as just that - shapes left from when seeds fell.

Picture of teasel from which seeds are dropping - only you can't see the seeds.




Now, now, I see them as the winter's hoard - not for birds to eat, though with some, like teasels, this is indeed a side effect, but as plant's packets of seeds, ready to sow in the spring - and they've begun sowing.




This should not have been as much a revelation as it was. But that's the advantage of being ignorant. The pleasure when one's eyes open is immense.

Alexanders with seedsl






Some Alexanders still have seeds in reserve.

Alexanders from which seeds have dropped.





Others  have let them all go.


Old fluff of Old Man's Beard with seeds still caught in it.



Old Man's Beard (wild clematis) tends to look pretty euchy by now. The deliciously white fluff of autumn has turned into dirty gray drifts of ancient cotton wool - the kind left behind by the dustmen.

Close up of the seeds in the fluff of Old Man's Beard.



But, kept safe in the mess, the seeds are opening and dropping. They are tiny. Smaller than tomato pips.

The prickly, brown balls of burdock.





And prickly balls of burdock are opening to release theirs.

Looking into burdock ball to see seeds.

See them? Quite large and lumpy inside.

Isn't autumn wonderful to save some of itself for spring?
* * *
All pictures were taken on 16th February 2013

Silhouettes in January 2011

18 comments:

Gerald (Hyde DP) said...

some lovely shapes here - i must look out for some old man;s beard - just had mine trimmed last week!

Toffeeapple said...

Nature is very clever at hanging onto things until they are needed.

Mark and Gaz said...

Lots of autumn does stay, until mostly human beings interfere by tidying up for a neater spring :)

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hello Toffeeapple, Mark and Gaz - all your comments - exactly.

Mark Willis said...

The spiky ones like Burdock are presumably like that in order to deter predators taking the whole lot all in one go - so retaining at least some of the seeds for the following year.

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hello Gerald. I have never noticed before how prickly these tiny Old Man's Beard seeds are, nor that they burst open like this.

Hello Mark. I imagine you are right. It's interesting how easily they fall our now if you tip and shake - and how big they are. Teasel seeds (smaller) come down in a shower when you touch the plant.

Pearl said...

Look at that sky!

Here in Minneapolis, I'm waiting for spring, a month or two away...

Pearl

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hi, Pearl, heavy the sky, isn't it? In summer, this area is a holiday destination. In winter there are few tourists. You can see why!

Down by the sea said...

Such beautiful images especially the old man's beard, those seeds are amazing. Yet again you have reminded me to look more closely at things!
Sarah x

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Thanks Sarah. It's interesting that you pick out the Old Man's Beard. I find the fluff and the seeds interesting (very interesting!)but not necessarily beautiful.

flightplot said...

Terrific photos showing, and telling, an interesting aspect.
The cycle of plant growth is an ever fascinating one which I never tire of, and thanks to posts like this I'm always learning. Flighty xx

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Thanks, Flighty.

Rosie Nixon said...

I love to photograph all those seedheads in the wintertime too. Nature certainly has beauty in decay.

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Morning, Rosie. It's non-stop change, isn't it, despite the repetitive nature of the seasons there's always something new to see, whether it's something we've never seen before or never before seen that way.

Donna said...

A grand thought Lucy...I had some birds foraging for those autumn seeds today...how wonderful. I have often thought that spring and autumn look so similar except for the autumn leaves and snow...once both are gone I cannot tell the difference for quite a while.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams said...

I always enjoy seeing your world through your lens....it's beautiful.

In winter when it's to be expected stark, in spring it's green....you always manage to find something interesting for us to see.

Jen

Pat Tillett said...

So many different textures and colors! Very nice. Thanks for the close-up views!

Diana Studer said...

how did you achieve that teasel photo?