Until July 2017, 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! Meanwhile . . . I've now moved to Halifax in West Yorkshire. Click on the link below to collect the new URL. Don't forget to follow there!

Saturday, 5 July 2014


Tree following symbol
Psst! Tree Followers.
The next Link Box
is onMonday 7thJuly
Sometimes it's good to look for something particular for a post. Sometimes it's fun merely to walk out and do nothing more than see what's there.

Perhaps it would have been better not to go out just as the light was fading; when bright streaks crossed gathering shadows. But I did. I went for my walk when it was sunny in some places and shady in others. Impractical for photographs but a summary of the day within a minute. Some flowers wide awake and some getting ready for sleep.

This is a time to notice how reactive many flowers are.

It's the same in the morning. Sometimes I've gone out to photograph a particular flower. The sun is shining. The birds are singing. And there on the wrong side of the path is my plant - eyes shut and dozing. Dandelions and daisies are like that. Scarlet pimpernel too. Catch them at the wrong moment and you catch them shut.

Buddleia just beginning to open against a blue sky
When I went for my walk, buddleia had its head in the sunshine - above the shadows.
You can glimpse the horrid open flowers in the lower corner
while admiring the grace of the others.
I don't like buddleia flowers when they're fully open. They're gross. Repellent. In bud they're fine. When dead - interesting. Buds and dead are similar. In between they fatten up, go lumpy and have too many petals packed in tight and too close. And the centres of the little flowers that make up the big one are the wrong colour. Some clashes make my heart sing. These make me wince. I find them so ugly I can't even show you a plump and open lump. (I like their leaves and bark though. I never pretend to be objective!)

One knapweed flower (purple - like clover on a thistle base) in grass

Caught in the grass, are the flowers of Common Knapweed (Centauria nigra). They are a bit like prickle-less little thistles - only they aren't prickly and the leaves are long and thin.

Viper's bugloss in flower in front of brambles and other vegetation

And right out in the sunshine, one of my very favouritest flowers - Viper's Bugloss (Echium vulgare). A shame it has such a terrible name! The flowers are interesting and vibrantly coloured. The seed pods are silver (when they come) and are covered in fine hairs that stick in your hands and hurt and are so thin and floppy they are difficult to get out. Ow! Very ow!

In front of the hedgerows, where the grass is short and coarse and rough after a council mowing, there are masses of white gossamer tents with tiny spiders inside.

A nest of spiders (Nursery-web) in grass

With them, in each tent, is a creamy white, papery structure that looks like a wasp's nest in miniature - the egg sack they came from. For most of the time, the little spiders are spread around the tent. When disturbed, they hurry together into a pillar shape. I think they are Nursery-web Spiders (Pisaura mirabilis). Africa Gomez has information about them on her Bug Blog. (Do you know Bug Blog? Wonderful, clear photographs of insects and a commentary by someone who, unlike me!, really does know what she is talking about.)

Close of one of the baby (Nursery-web?) spiders

I'll return and lurk every so often; find out how fast they grow. They've been growing slowly over the last couple of weeks; hardly perceptibly. Perhaps they'll accelerate? I'll look out for their mums standing guard. (I've not seen one yet.) I'll watch out for them leaving home and dispersing. (I expect they'll be there one day and gone the next. So I'll probably miss them Sigh!)

As well as following a tree - I'm now following spiders!

Bindweed flower closing as shadow falls across it

And on the way home, convolvulus trumpets close as shadows densen and fall across them. Elegance; with the white shining through the gloom much more brightly than the picture shows. Restful. Reassuring. Lovely.

The end of the walk.
* * *
All photos in this post were taken on the evening of 3rd July 2014.
* * *

Don't forget
the next date for our Tree Following updates
is 7th July.

P.S. I'd like to ask a favour. It would be helpful to know how many readers live in Dorset and the surrounding counties. That way I can get an idea of how much local information I can assume and how much I should make sure to add in. In order to gauge this, it would help me a lot if you would tick one of the location options where it says 'REACTIONS' below. The ticks are anonymous. The information is only as you see - numbers. But it might make Loose and Leafy (even!) better. (Perhaps you could leave a tick for each post you read. This won't go on for ever. Maybe four posts?)


Hollis said...

Lucy, I think you're really lucky to have found the spider nest, and I look forward to news. I'm a big fan of spiders even though I rarely know one from the next. My sunroom, with lots of plants, is a spider sanctuary -- NO killing or molesting allowed! I suspect Charlotte's Web (E.B. White) made a big impression on me, at age 9.

Diana Studer said...

I'm your third elsewhere. I try to write my posts for local and elsewhere readers - with a link for more info if they want it.

My tree post is waiting for your link on Monday ...

colleen said...

Oh, I have a real soft spot for buddliea. Only yesterday I was standing on the railway platform at Bethnal Green looking at those growing out of a wall, over a taxi cab graveyard and thinking how they really do know how to make the best of the most unpromising places. You've got to admire that.

colleen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
amanda peters said...

Lovely post, if I get chance I like to go to the park on a evening there is a different feel to the place, normally go midday with the dog (who must get a bit fed up while I look at yet another nettle !)
Have to say I like Buddlia, have three different types in my garden, brings the Butterflies in..
Amanda xx

Louise Marsh said...

Don't forget there are more (free) resources to help you identify plants on our website www.bsbi.org.uk Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland