Thursday, 15 April 2010

Biting

Following a few dry days, the ground has dried out sufficiently for Malcolm and I to take a good long walk around the Mapperley Reservoir for the first time this year. We were greeted by the sound of Willow Warblers, Chiff-chaffs, Green Woodpeckers, Song Thrushes, Blackbirds, Grebes. Swans, Ducks, Geese and the first Swallows of the year. All in spite of the fact that it was a very cold morning with a biting wind finding it's way into every nook and cranny!
Some lovely plants to show you today, starting with one of the smallest with one of the biggest names. The Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage (Chryosplenium oppositifolium). At just a couple of inches high, it was nonetheless, flowering bravely in the cold.
Next, an ancient plant the Great Horse-tail (Equisetum telmateia).
The name Equisetum is derived from the Latin Equus, meaning 'horse' and seta, meaning 'bristle'. Horsetails have been around for hundreds of millions of years and the ancestors of these, foot-high plants once grew to hundred-foot-tall trees, forming vast forests. Strange to think that the ancestors of this little plant, were responsible for for the formation of the coal which is being dug out of the hill-side just a mile from where they are now growing.
A rather more colourful plant next and one which is starting to flower all over the woodland floor at the moment. The Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa) is a delightful, delicate and welcome sight among the dark trees and leaf-litter.
Lastly, as we walked home again, you could have been forgiven for thinking that it had been snowing as we came across a cherry tree in full bloom. It was so covered in flowers that it looked as if it were covered in the white stuff. It was certainly cold enough!
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