Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Wet - again!

In Britain, over the past few years, one would be forgiven for thinking that the seasons have become muddled in some way.  We have had unusually warm Christmases, freezing cold Springs and wet and windy Summers - sometimes it seems that we have had all four seasons in one day!  So, it should come as no surprise that, following a warm and sunny weekend, we should find ourselves wet a shivering again this morning as the rain falls and temperature drops.
Therefore, as we sit at home, unable to get out for a walk, here are some more pictures taken over the last few days.
Growing along part of the Nutbrook Trail, close to home, there are a few patches of rather delicate-looking, white flowers.  Scrabbling among the grasses and lower shrubs, the Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea) is a member of the family which includes Pinks or Carnations.  It has five petals, each split in two to about half of their length.  The ray-like ridges of these petals make a perfect landing platform for pollinating insects to land on and to be drawn to the pale yellow stamens and stigma within the centre of the flower.
Walking around Shipley Lake the other day, we were attracted to the view from the footpath along one of the small, overflow lakes.  Looking through the trees towards the reed bed at the far end, reflections in the calm waters added to the scene.  Often, this scene is disrupted by squabbling Coots, but not on this occasion - all was peace!
I have mentioned before that the trees are very late this year in opening their leaves and flowers.  One Tree which should have opened its flowers several weeks ago, but is only now doing so, is the Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus).  Until a few days ago, I had never taken the time to look closely at these tiny flowers, but as I found one branch growing over our path at a height which enabled such close inspection, I was glad I did.  This is not a native of the British Isles, but was introduced because of its ability to tolerate pollution, salt spray and other problematic conditions.  It was widely grown as a wind-break and has become a very common sight in this country.  For such a large tree, I was struck by the delicate nature of the flowers, particularly the recurved stigma standing proud of the centre of each flower.  Beautiful!
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