I’m just catching up, taking a break from chasing Next Door’s Cat around the garden with a string of shallots (see previous post). Why I’m taking a break from this activity I do not know, given that he gave me a frog this morning. Correction: most of a frog. Ergh. On to something more edifying: my downy birch.
The leaves have almost all lost their freshness, though they seem to regain it in the sun,
and the sun also reveals the soft slight downiness of the newer twigs. But there’s no denying that the crispness, the startling bright green, has changed.
It’s a deeper green and the leaves are much less glossy than they were; in Welsh, July is Gorffennaf, which translates as summer’s end.
My birch is still hanging onto what Collins’ Field Guide tells me are its fruit:
and I decided I’d better investigate them more thoroughly before they all fell off. They’re not ripe yet, but they are definitely heading that way:
The scales come off quite easily, and the seed cases inside are getting quite dry. It won’t be long before the ‘cones’ (I suppose I could call them that, though I doubt that it’s technically correct) dry out and release the seeds… Gorffennaf indeed.
So what of the bark, which was still looking orangey-brown and tawny at the start of my tree watching? The newer twigs and the branches are still very orange – burnt orange, really. So is the trunk, from about a metre up. Below that, though, it is definitely beginning to turn more silvery:
A little difficult to see both in this shot, but take it from me: it’s going silvery.
The meadow around the birch is – or should be – at its height. In some ways it still is, but it is far from being physically at its height (usually about as tall as I am, in parts), given that it also doubles as a dog’s playground / dog bed on occasion. There is still a lot of Bird’s Foot Trefoil; the St John’s Wort is flowering and almost all the grasses are shedding seed.
There’s a fair bit of wildlife too; butterflies fluttering by, insects crawling up the grass stems, a couple of crickets shouting at each other. Makes a change from frog-catching felines – though the FCF seems to be nervous in the meadow and waits for me outside it, rather than trailing after me along the mown paths. Wish the same could be said of the dog. However, even the most determined collie pup (and she is) has managed to avoid breaking down all the Hogweed.
This is coming along nicely, and I do love it. It’s almost triffid-like as it grows, sharing alien qualities with the Angelica gigas which I grew a couple of years ago. Not surprising, really; the coarser members of the carrot family all have this tendency, I think. Again, I should be careful what I wish for: once, I dreamed of more umbellifers. Now, I’ve got them. Only in the garden, in the form of wild carrot, and not in the meadow. Oh well.
Wonder if the leaves will be turning for the next post? There’s been some tweeting about how autumn seems to be early this year; I’m not so sure. But we will see…