18 Apr 2016

It’s bluebell time again – what a treat

Oh! roses and lilies are fair to see;
But the wild bluebell is the flower for me.
Louisa A. Meredith. The Bluebell. (1922)

On visiting a place that is set in fabulous grounds, I saw that in the week since I was last there, the  bluebells have all burst forth in flower.  We’d commented last week that they were just emerging and would soon be at their peak, so were thankful that the sun was out this time and I walked the last few hundred yards so that I could both enjoy them and take some photographs.

Forget-me-nots and primroses nestle at the base of this tree.
Forget-me-nots and primroses nestle at the base of this tree.

Over the last couple of visits we have enjoyed very good patches of primroses at the edge of the woodland and whilst many exposed patches are now passing their peak, with faded flowers, some in shady spots are just at their best, now snuggled up in the fast growing grass with bright blue forget-me-nots and a few pink primulas.

Whilst summer tends to offer up blousy, vibrant and colourful blooms, designed to make the most of the insects that are most active in warm sunny weather, I am personally very fond of the more subtle, diminutive blooms of spring.  Those little delicate things that have to time their peak in that niche of time between improving weather, longer days and warming sunshine and the time when the trees gain their foliage, blocking out the light to the woodland floor below.

A gorgeous carpet of bluebells spread through deciduous woodland.
A gorgeous carpet of bluebells spread through deciduous woodland.

Bluebells are perhaps some of the more obvious woodland flowers at this time of year, because their spreading carpet tends to look at its most intense when glanced from a distance, where perspective foreshortens the distance between the blooms, deceiving the eye into thinking that there are more than there probably are.  You can see that illustrated in my photographs, especially on the left, where there seem to be many more in the distance than the foreground, but in reality they’re evenly spread.  When you get close to bluebells growing, they’re often quite thinly spread out, but en mass at a distance, they’re much more impressive.

There are few sights that would gladden my heart as much as a carpet of bluebells amongst deciduous trees, illuminated by the glow of warm spring sunshine, it feels like such a treat – and one that is often hidden and you have to seek out to enjoy.  They seem to be early too – it was over a month later last year when I made a similar post about bluebells – those photographs being taken on the 23rd May.

 Mini Gallery:

You can view the images in sequence by clicking on any photograph and using the next and back arrows.


18 Mar 2011

Mother Nature knows how to cheer us up

I apologise for yet another blog lacking in worthy literary content. I have been working and concentrating on other things recently and need to get back to my usual routine and thought processes and get some of the draft tutorials I have in the works actually finished. So in the short term, I’m going to fob you off with some photographs and hope it serves as a suitable distraction from the lack of actual information.

Please click on any of the photographs for a larger view.
There is a dense patch of tiny tete-a-tete daffodils in the corner of the park – how could that fail to lift your spirits.
I’ve always had the idea that Mother Nature knows everyone is a bit fed up after winter and in need of something cheering and she came up with daffodils. Isn’t she clever?

It was a totally gorgeous spring day today – wall to wall sunshine (well, almost; the scant clouds always seem to know just when I’ve got myself into a preposterous position to take a photograph), deep blue sky and whilst the air was decidedly nippy and the breeze quite brisk, the sun was warm and I could hardly wait today to finish some tasks I needed to, so I could grab my hiking boots and head out for my lunchtime walk.

One thing leads to another – I stepped towards the railings along the river to see if there were any nice views to be had and as I looked carefully where I was standing to prevent me crushing any plants coming through the leaf litter, I saw a little cluster of small brown fungi – the structure of the gills is quite beautiful and clearly arranged in patterns of ascending size – you needed to get low to appreciate the structure, the photograph was taken on the ground. It was only around 25mm (1″) in diameter and the same sort of height. Whilst I’m bending down taking photos, I spotted my gnarled root photo prop.
I believe this fungi to be a Winter Twiglet – Tubaria hiemalis – apparently there are few traditional mushroom shaped fungi this early in the year and it certainly has the gill patterns which would identify the species.

That makes it sound like I scaled some strenuous peak, where in reality I walked a loop to the next village, tickled a cat, threw sticks for a gorgeous auburn coloured boxer dog, caught up on the family gossip with an old friend out tending her horse, took some photos and found a fabulous bit of dried gnarled root for a photo prop. As previously mentioned, I always have a tie handle bag in my pocket for the collection of such treasures. Dangling from my camera bag it must make passers-by wonder where I lost my dog, but I care not.

The house that faces this view is currently up for sale. I’ve looked at it a couple of times when it’s changed hands over the years, but I don’t think my pockets are anything like deep enough.

As I headed back, I got the flashing red icon to indicate that my camera batteries were going. I had spares with me, but didn’t want to bother trying to change them with cold fingers and without my glasses to see which way in they go. I managed to squeak a couple more out of these primroses.

I really should have made more progress on my to do list, but tickling cats, talking to boxers and old friends and sharing my day with pretty fungi, daffodils and primroses was far more agreeable. I can work when it’s dark.What on earth are they doing?

Maybe you can help to educate me – I saw these chickens at a farm shop recently and was perplexed by their actions. There was a dusty hollow in some dry earth in the shadow of a wall and the chickens were taking it in turns to ‘bathe’ in the dust. That much I can comprehend, but after some fluttering action, they would lie perfectly still for a while as though in total ecstasy, with their heads on their side. Then jump up and saunter off, like the white one who was clearly ‘done’.

I was tickled that the white chicken standing has markings on its side like a boot print. I sincerely hope that is is just patterns on the feathers.