Monday, 13 January 2020

Times they are a-changin'

Now and then I slip in a snatch of poetry - usually no more than a quatrain - into my blog if it seems appropriate. But what do we now do with regard to winter? In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries poets would rail against ice and snow and bitter gales; they would celebrate skating on the village pond. But those days are over, perhaps never to return. The fossil fuel companies will garner 'evidence' that climate warming is a myth, but anyone who takes the trouble to look at the true picture will know that winters will never be the same again.

So where does this leave the blogger, looking for winter scenes that are now just memories? One answer is to look for aberrant behaviour. Certainly botanists and entomologists are noting oddities. Ornithologists too:  Blackcaps were simply described in older books as 'summer visitors' but these warblers are now regularly seen throughout winter at bird feeders. Of course they haven't read the mendacious nonsense being pushed by oil companies. Strange that they have more understanding of reality than the American president!

Like the blackcap, our Strawberry tree, Arbutus unedo, hasn't been fooled. It has responded to mild conditions by producing a truss of flowers although it ought to have finished flowering some weeks ago.

Our Strawberry Tree has surprised us with panicles of its ivory
flowers. Stefen Hill, Daventry. 13 January, 2020
So far this year, although I have noted a few flies around, I have yet to see a bee, so the flowers are likely to go unpollinated. They are not the most conspicuously coloured flowers nor have I detected any scent (although bees can pick up scents well beyond the range of the human schnozz).
The flowers are much like those of Pieris, to which they are related.

I featured our Garrya elliptica around three weeks ago. Since then its catkins have lengthened greatly. To call this Californian shrub spectacular is over-egging it a little but right now it is now quite striking.

The catkins on our Garrya elliptica have reached 260 millimetres long.

Unlike the Strawberry Tree it is wind pollinated but as I only possess a male plant any pollen borne away on the breeze will be wasted. I'll keep an open for bees at the catkins but I'm not optimistic.

Bees often visit hazel catkins are for their pollen but I doubt they'll
be visiting the Garrya.
My mother often spoke of  '...patience on a monument' but until recently I hadn't realised (nor, I'm  sure had she) that she was quoting Shakespeare, the words being spoken by Viola in Twelfth Night. Anyway, that's what I need - lots of it.

No comments:

Post a Comment