Saturday, 19 January 2013

Snow comes to Byfield

Wall in Church Street, Byfield
Golden Privet in Westhorpe Lane
I am no photographer but, 10 to 15 cm of snow having fallen on Byfield, I couldn't resist going for a stroll and capturing a few images. A long wall is a feature of Church Street and the individual stones had been picked out by the snow. This wall is important historically and, I believe, is a listed building, but I like it for the array of plants which find a home in the mortar-filled crevices.

The Victorians can be admired for many of their innovations but it is difficult to forgive them for privet hedges. Dull, labour-intensive and pointless they still blight many a garden frontage. I will, however, make an exception of the Golden Privet Ligustrum ovalifolium 'Aureum'. It makes most attractive shrub when grown as an individual and even as a hedge, as here in Westhorpe Lane, where it is looking cheerful in the snow.
Westhorpe Pump
This hedge on the Boddington
Road consists entire
ly of Ash
The much renovated Westhorpe pump stood out as quite a striking feature and interestingly, despite the bitter weather, water was still flowing freely at the base. 

Turning into Boddington Road I was struck by the fact that virtually all the large trees along the roadside are Ash, as are the hedgerows. It is a reminder of how devastating the effects will be if Ash dieback is not halted. Several of the Ash trees bore large bracket fungi, showing that Ash Heart Rot, Inonotus hispidus has begun its deadly attack. This affliction will almost certainly lead to the death of the trees.
A bracket fungus Inonotus hispidus on Ash
The Silk Tassel Bush Garrya elliptica

On the last leg of my walk a lovely specimen of Garrya elliptica caught my attention. The catkins on this shrub can reach well over 10cm in length and, given the right setting, this makes a splendid plant.

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