Monday, 21 December 2015

Winter solstice

I took a stroll into town today. It wasn't really cold but a brisk wind introduced a significant chill factor into the situation.

Eucalyptus gunnii in flower. Daventry,
21 December, 2015

My walk took me past one of my favourite local trees, a specimen of Eucalyptus gunnii, which I hoped to find in flower. Sure enough the creamy white, powder-puff blossoms were there among the leaf-like phyllodes.

An interesting specimen, but in a few years time the owner will be regretting that it was ever planted. This species eventually makes a huge tree!

This was anticipated, but what did surprise me was Sophora microphylla in full flower along Badby Road West. It is native to New Zealand and I wrote about it in a blog dated 28 April, 2015, when I found it covered in its beautiful bell-like flowers. (Incidentally there is much conflicting and confusing information on the internet regarding this species and I have since tweaked that blog.)

Sophora microphylla beside Badby Road West, Daventry.
21 December, 2015

So here it is again, once more in full flower, only eight months later. Had I a larger garden, I wouldn't hesitate to plant a specimen, even though it might wait until I was pushing up the daisies before it produced its first blooms. It is related to laburnum, both being members of the huge Fabaceae Family but, other than sharing yellow flowers, the similarities are not obvious.

It belongs to that burgeoning group of trees which were once regarded as a risk in the British climate. Ever-warmer winters are making it a gamble well worth taking.

So a potentially boring walk in rather cheerless weather as brightened up and helped to put a spring into my step.

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