Saturday, 22 April 2017

Yellow Archangel

Yellow archangel is so called because, like its cousins the red deadnettle and the white deadnettle, which are sometimes called red archangel and white archangel, it flowers on or near 27th April, the day of the Archangel Michael.

I found this clump flowering beside the Jubilee Way, near the lower entrance from Vilner Farm.

Look carefully at the lower lip of the flower and you may see the red streaks like tiny spots of blood - maybe from the sword of the Archangel Michael.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Where have all the cows and cuckoos gone?

It's a good year for Cuckoo Flower but Cuckoos have not been heard or seen at Filnore Woods since May 2015.

Cuckoo Flower is also known as Lady's Smock or Milkmaids. 

Not to be confused with Cuckoo Pint, that strange flower of the lily family, which is also known as Lords and Ladies, Wild Arum, Jack in the Pulpit, Parson in the Pulpit, Parson's Pintle, etc.

Cowslips are not usually woodland flowers but we do get some on the woodland edge

All the flowers hang on one side of the stem

More commonly cowslips grow out in the grassland, where the cows used to graze.

We could do with some cows, or better still sheep to maintain our grassland flowers.  But we don't have either a pure water supply or stock-proof fencing.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Oak flowers

As many of our oak trees at Filnore Woods have branches down to the ground, we get the chance to see the flowers, which will give rise to acorns at the end of summer.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Loveliest of trees

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough, 
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

When A. E. Housman wrote those lines he was thinking of the Wild Cherry or Gean (Prunus avium).  The photos above are of the large tree near post 2 at Filnore Woods and the smaller tree which has grown from a sucker of its parent.

But we also have several Bird Cherry (Prunus padus) trees, 
like this one between posts 11 & 20.

Its flowers are quite different and the cherries are small, when they come.

Soon enough though, the petals will fall like confetti and we''ll have to wait another twelve months for this display to come again.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Step repair and blackthorn in bloom

We built our staircase up from the footbridge in 2012.  From time to time  the stakes become rotten and brittle and the poles come loose, like this one in the photo below. 

A new pole was put in and secured with pegs; then woodchip was used to fill the gap.  The new pole was a bit thinner so it made the step a little bit lower, but it is better than leaving it in a dangerous state.

Looking up the steps - the blackthorn is at its best now

Soon the petals will fall on the ground like white confetti.

There are huge clumps of blackthorn all over the place in Filnore Woods.  Come and see it before it fades.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

'Common' or 'abundant'?

Lesser Celandines, the stars of spring, are so common that you might consider them to be a weed.

And if dandelions weren't so abundant, they would be planted, like daffodils, to decorate our roadsides in spring. 

 This is the peak time for dandelions.  They go on blooming intermittently through the summer but at the moment they are all blooming together.  

Glorious !

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Steve's woodland clearing

Steve Gilliard, who is moving away from Thornbury, has been treasurer and a stalwart supporter of the Friends of Filnore Woods.  He has been a frequent attender and occasional leader of volunteer work days.  

He was chief engineer on the construction of the bench seats.

His last big effort was to clear a large area that had scrubbed over, allowing primroses and bluebells to re-awaken across the ground.

  The bluebells are just opening 

but the primroses are in full bloom

Thanks Steve.