Thursday, 27 April 2017


There could only be one topic for this morning's blog entry - Bluebells.
and thousands...
and thousands of them.
Despite the chilly wind, we we enveloped in the perfume as well as their colour.
Definitely a good year for the Bluebells.
This calls for a video.

Monday, 24 April 2017

More Blossom

The tide of colourful, Spring blossom continues to sweep over us. We've had Snowdrops, Blackthorn, Daffodils, Celandines and Cherry blossom of course, and now we also have Apple blossom adding its colour.
This morning, as we walked around the lakes of Straw's Bridge, we stopped to admire this particularly flower-filled specimen.
As with the cherry trees, the dry weather has been kind to the blossom, keeping it looking pristine for much longer.
The cherries are still looking good too and over the last few days, we've spent quite a lot of our time gazing up into the branches of these beauties.
A backdrop of blue sky is always good too.
Some of the blossom this year has been jaw-dropping. Probably the best I've ever seen.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Not Forgotten

The fantastic display of Tree blossom at this time of year, can distract us from the more lowly flowers to be found at ground level. But it's always worth glancing down to see what's beneath your feet. This morning, as we walked along the old Colliery lines towards Brook Farm, the Forget-me-nots were looking wonderful.
Since the trees have been cleared, it has let a lot more light onto the ground, allowing these flowers to come into their own and make quite a display.
It is also Rhododendron time again. Tuesday's walk around Shipley Hill revealed the first of what also promises to be a good year.
These early Rhododendrons are all pink flowered so far. The other colours will no doubt follow shortly.
The early, fresh spring leaves are also worth looking at, especially when illuminated by bright sunshine and viewed against the bare branches surrounding them and the darker Ivy shrouding the trunk.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Currants and Cowslips

Spring 2017 continues to be something of a flower-fest. Among the more colourful flowers to be seen around Shipley Park, have been those belonging to some ornamental Currants.
This particular specimen is to be found in the grounds of the Nottingham Lodge and has been accompanied by a golden-flowered Forsythia, but as the Forsythia flowers faded, so the Currant flowers took over. They make a lovely sight - if a not-so-lovely fragrance.
Speaking of the Forsythia, these pictures were taken a few days ago when they were at their peak.
With a little digital 'bloom' they seem to glow in the sunshine.
A walk around the lakes of Straw's Bridge right now, will give you the opportunity of seeing quantities of Cowslips.
They always make a welcome appearance in early spring, opening their blooms before the surrounding grasses grow up and swamp the low growing plants.
Each lake seems to have its own population of Cowslips. These are growing among the trees beside 'Swan Lake', the most visited of the lakes.
There will be more spring flowers to come no doubt!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Bluebells and Cherries

Our walk this morning, took us past Shipley Lake and up Shipley Hill to see if the Bluebells were in full bloom. Despite the very cold wind blowing straight at us seemingly from the Arctic, the sun was shining and the birds were singing and when we reached the hill, the Bluebells were dazzling.
It is still a little early for the full, eye-wateringly rich display, but it wasn't bad for a start.
The stiff breeze meant that we were not lucky enough to get the heady scent which usually accompanies such a display, but it promises much better things to come.
Tearing ourselves away from such richness, we crossed the site of the old hall and made our way back down the hill towards Mapperley Village. As we left the woodland however, we were stopped in our tracks by some of the most fabulous Cherry trees we've seen this season.
These stunning trees were so full of perfect, double, white blossoms, they almost took your breath away. With the sun shining on them and with a backdrop of deep blue sky, it made for some very eye-catching photographs as the branches gave the impression of being snow-laden.
Closer inspection reveals the delicate beauty of individual flowers. We are fortunate this year to have had several days of dry weather, so the petals have not been spoiled by rain and we can appreciate the full beauty of these wonderful trees.
There will be much more of this to come, you may be sure....

Monday, 10 April 2017

Woodland Wonders

Much cooler this morning and quite breezy too, but it was still sunny and dry, so we set out to walk around Mapperley Reservoir. On our way, we walked along Slack Lane and stopped to admire the glorious Gorse which is in full flower at the moment.
This rather prickly member of the Pea family provides some wonderful colour at almost all times of the year, but in early spring, it is at its best. The slight scent of coconut from these brilliant flowers only adds to the attraction. The bees were enjoying it this morning too.
Onward we walked and we thought we would see if it was dry enough through Mapperley Wood. The path here can be very wet and muddy, but thankfully, not this morning. Crossing the brook we stopped to enjoy the sight and sound of running water.
A few Bluebells have started to bloom under the trees, promising much greater things to come. But for now, we were happy just listening to the birds singing and the water bubbling along.
We made it round the reservoir and in a few spots, clumps of Wood Anemones caught our attention.
Belonging to the Buttercup family, this pretty little plant is sometimes known as Windflower or even 'Smell Fox' because of the musky odour of the crushed leaves. Undoubtedly another great woodland favourite.

Friday, 7 April 2017


The hedgerows are filled with the flowers of various members of the Prunus genus at the moment. I have recently mentioned the Cherry trees and their wonderful blossom and right now, they are accompanied by huge quantities of Blackthorn blossom.
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) is among the first of the British bushes to produce flowers each spring making it a welcome source of nectar for early-flying insects. The downside of such early flowering, is that the flowers can be nipped by frost. But this year, the display is magnificent.
Blackthorn wood has traditionally been used for walking sticks as well as Irish shillelaghs. Later in the year, we shall have the fruits to look forward to. The Sloes are like tiny, deep purple/blue plums and are a great favourite as a flavouring for Gin. But for now, lets just enjoy the bounteous blossoms
The cherries of course are another of the genus Prunus and are looking wonderful right now. Along the Nutbrook trail this morning, one particular stretch of hedgerow was filled with their blossom.
Against the blue spring sky they are quite spectacular and hundreds of bees were enjoying the flowers at least as much as we were.
As we walked around the lakes of Straw's Bridge, we got a closer view of one cherry tree, and what a beauty!
That calls for another picture I think.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Blossom and Beetles

Continuing yesterday's theme of spring blossom, here are just a few more pictures of the wonderful cherry trees around these parts at the moment. Firstly, a cherry tree I have photographed many times before over the last few years, but one which continues to delight every spring.
Thankfully, the fine weather has allowed the blossom to open and remain on the trees this year. Last year, we had some high winds about this time which knocked a lot of the petals off. But so far, we've had no storms to ruin the display.
Back to Shipley Hill and the fantastic display offered by the Pieris (Pieris floribunda) on the site of the old hall.
The stark, white, bell-shaped flowers show beautifully against a deep blue sky and contrast with the bright red of the new shoots. Looking at the flowers more closely, it is a little easier to see that this huge bush is a member of the Ericaceae and therefore a close relative of the more diminutive Heather.
On to the beetles mentioned in today's title. It seems we have been sharing our home with quite a few small, brown beasties known as Carpet Beetles (Anthrenus verbasci). A common little beetle, it is to be found almost all over Europe, Asia and North Africa. Their larvae, often known as 'Woolly Bears' are also frequently found in our homes and in large enough numbers, can cause some damage to natural fabrics such as wool clothing, furs and carpets. They can be a particular nuisance in museums as they can eat specimens of stuffed animals and antique garments, but with more and more of our homes being given over to man-made fibres, they tend to do very little if any damage in the domestic environment. And the beetles are rather cute - don't you think..?

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Birds and Blossom

Setting out for our walk this morning, we didn't expect to be stopped in our tracks only a few minutes later, by the sight of a flock of Waxwings.
Typically, the weather was somewhat grey and dull so it was difficult to get a good shot, but with a little bit of digital manipulation, I've managed to brighten the view. It must be getting close to the time when these beautiful little birds must start back to their breeding grounds in Scandinavia, so it was even more exciting to see so many (about 30), so late in the season.
Spring is certainly in the air as the Cherry Blossom proves.
This particular tree, close to the Nutbrook Coffee Shop, was bursting at the seams with blossom this morning...

... despite the dull weather.
Yesterday, we were joined on our walk, by the ever-lovely Jayne. Thankfully, the sun shone on us as we walked round Shipley Park and the Old Hall site where a large Pieris was giving good value as always at this time of year.
No doubt, there will be more of that to come.