Saturday, January 2, 2016

New Year Plant Hunt in and around Durham city today


A second day of New Year Plant Hunting, this time along the banks of the river Wear and along woodland edges and hedges. Nineteen species in flower this time, of which these are some of the most pleasing:



































Alder catkins



































Hazel catkins



































Hogweed






















Nipplewort Lapsana communis


















Lesser celandine, flower petals eaten by a slug but very attractive variegated foliage.























...... and cowslip, flowering four months early.























The cowslip was on the Durham University estate, on the Mountjoy site, about 400 metres from an area that was seeded with wild cowslips about 20 years ago. Since then they save seeded themselves on various places, most likely with seed carried on feet of staff and students. This single flowering plant was amongst a population of over 50 non-bloomers, all with very vigorous new leaf growth, on a very sheltered grassy bank under an alder.

9 comments:

  1. Crazy! THe only thing flowering at the right time here seems to be the aconite!

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    1. It's a strange year - some things in my garden that were in full flower last Christmas are still in bud...

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  2. I'm taking a big bunch of catkins (sustainable ones!) into the office with me on Monday. The first day back needs a show of spring. That said what random weather we are having...

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    1. If you leave them in a warm room overnight then tap the twigs in the morning you get a spectacular cloud of yellow pollen.I'm getting quite nostalgic about those winters of the past when we had frosty, crisp, sunny days....

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  3. We walked from Prebends Bridge up to St Oswalds Church yesterday and on the Kinsgate side of the church near to the road there's a Cherry in blossom. I think it's cherry, judging from the bark, but don't know the species. The cherries where we live down the Sands are showing no blossom at all so I may have misidentified it. I thought it may be Hamamellis mollis, but the horizontal banding on the bark is so distinctive I feel it must be cherry. It's an extraordinary amount of flowers. Would be interested to hear what you think if you pass that spot.

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    1. Think I know the one that you mean Dougie - it's Prunus subhirtella autumnalis. I have one in my garden that's about 20 years old and is smothered in blossom. Begins flowering in mid-November and can keep going until March. I have the cultivar called rosea, which has pink flowers. Bullfinches love to eat the buds http://cabinetofcuriosities-greenfingers.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/winter-blossom-and-bullfinches.html
      All the best for 2016!

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    2. Thanks Phil. Looking forwarding to reading more about what's on my doorstep in 2016!

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  4. I feel sorry for the poor old hogweed. Its flowers really are quite pretty when viewed close up in your photo even though it's often considered an unattractive plant.

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    1. Me too - flower heads like lace. I wonder if these winter bloomers ever produce viable seeds?

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