Tuesday, 20 December 2016


Apologies to Dylan Thomas - if he can hear me, but there was little to see today on my walk home from Daventry, having left Chris in town with the car. I'm certainly not grumbling as it was a beautiful, sunny morning and various Calliphorid flies (the posh name for blowflies) were enjoying the warmth of south-facing wooden fences. Let's hope this fine spell is with us for a bit longer as I am not enthusiastic over white Christmases. Also enjoying a south-facing aspect was a clematis, its four purple, petaloid sepals showing that it was some form of Clematis x lawsoniana.
This is really a group of very similar hybrids with, as their parents, the Chinese Clematis lanuginosa crossed with the Mediterranean species, Clematis viticella. Although it is not really obvious, Clematis species are closely related to Anemone with a genus from Madagascar, Clematopsis, providing the link. (Ed. Thanks Tony, I really wanted to know that!)
In a border was a solitary specimen of Shaggy Ink-cap, Coprinus comatus. This is a species I associate with late summer and autumn so I was a little surprised to find  it.
This is a good edible species if it can be gathered before if dissolves into the inky liquid after which the species gets its common name - and yes, in the past it really was used as a source of ink from time to time.
Almost home now. Still the yarrow, Achillea millefolium, is flowering in a neighbour's lawn. It really shouldn't; no good can come of it.
Finally a pause as I reach our front garden. Are there any signs of spring bulbs pushing through? Yes, Iris reticulata is poking through the gravel. Its blue and gold flowers should be with us in a few weeks.
What about the crocuses? Yes, they are there too. I have chosen mostly the blue forms of Crocus chrysanthus as, among the yellowish gravel, the colour after which the species is named - Greek Chrysos - gold, wouldn't really stand out.

Home! Time for a last-minute bit of prezzie-wrapping before Chris gets back!

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