Friday, 1 December 2017

Brrr. Snow on the way?

White rabbits! White rabbits! White rabbits!  It's the first day of the month and I get a severe reprimand from Chris if I forget to chant this mantra. We had planned today to walk the canalside near to Braunston but we chickened out. Far too cold. Yesterday we had travelled to Staffordshire and we met flurries of snow on the way back. Is there more to come?  In any case, we had jobs to do in Daventry so we contented ourselves with strolling through parts of Southbrook and Daventry Country Park.
Laurustinus, Viburnum tinus, was in flower in many areas but received barely a glance. It is a good shrub in so many ways but is so commonplace that it is virtually ignored. 
Laurustinus in flower beside a Daventry car park.
1 December, 2017
One or two examples of its close relative, the Leatherleaf Viburnum, Viburnum rhytidophyllum, were noted on our walk, generally in municipal shrubberies. It is not in flower yet of course, its blossoms will not appear until May, but its slightly glossy leaves, best described as corrugated, are attractive in themselves. It is another plant introduced by Ernest 'Chinese' Wilson from, unsurprisingly, Western China. It didn't arrive in Britain until 1900 but such was its value in the garden that it quickly (1907) received a First Class Certificate from the R.H.S.
The foliage of Viburnum rhytidophyllum is attractive in its own right.
Daventry. 1 December, 2017
It was no warmer than three or four degrees but the sunlight was brilliant. Nevertheless, sunny or not, we didn't linger to examine plants but kept on the move. Most of the trees have now lost their leaves and stood out starkly against the blue sky. This is a good time of the year to practise recognising silhouettes and keeping a look out for mistletoe. Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust is keen to receive records of this semiparasite but I know of none other than those in well-known locations such as the Abington area of Northampton (where it grows on False Acacia) and Kingsthorpe, also in Northampton, where it is abundant on Common Lime. Here in Daventry we have plenty of False Acacia around the car park adjoining the Aldi supermarket but I have looked there in vain.

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