Friday, 16 April 2010


The floral display is getting better by the day. Malcolm and I had a march up Shipley Hill this morning to see what was blooming at the site of the Old Hall. We were greeted firstly, by the sight of Daffodils blooming in the shade of the woodland atop the hill.
Pressing further into the Old Hall site, there are a few large Pieris bushes (Pieris japonica), also known as Andromeda. This variety being called 'Forest Flame' and when you see the glowing, red colour of the new leaves, it is easy to see where it gets the name.
Another large shrub to be found in flower at the moment are the flowering Currant bushes (Ribes sanguineum). These were covered in bees and flies all making the most of the nectar-rich flowers.
A native of North America, the fruits which follow, are edible (like other currant bushes), but have little if any taste.
A rather prickly shrub next. Berberis or Barberry (Berberis darwinii) is covered in small spines on its stems and spikes on the leaves like holly. For that reason, they are rather unapproachable, but the flowers are absolutely glorious. Unsurprisingly, the name 'darwinii' comes from the fact that this species was first described in science, by Charles Darwin in South America in 1835. The plant was however, well known to the native peoples as they had been eating the berries for thousands of years.
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