Sunday, February 24, 2008

New leaves - tutsan and sallow

The tutsan plants (Hypericum androsaemum) start into leaf very early, sending up shoots surmounted by purple spear-shaped leaves. The older leaves remain on the plant and the whole is only halfway to being a proper shrub, a suffruticose perennial I suppose is the correct description. The sallow 'coppices' are also starting into leaf.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Goblin chestnut

Hard up against the sallow log a saw a boot-polish brown glint in a small hole. After careful probing I brought a shiny Spanish chestnut to light that must have been buried by a grey squirrel. Though maybe it was a goblin of the kind described in Goblin Market by Christina Rosetti:
One began to weave a crown
Of tendrils, leaves, and rough nuts brown
(Men sell not such in any town);

This large seed raises some interesting question for a wildlife recorder. Do I claim a chestnut (Castanea sativa) for the windowbox, or should I wait to see if it grows? How about a grey squirrel, or a goblin, or a gruffalo? Well, no, I think not. I did, however, put it back in its dark hole to see what happens anon. The nearest trees, incidentally, where such a nut could have come from are probably 50 metres away.

In the middle of this episode a man called with a new shelf for the fridge. I explained the windowbox and the chestnut to him and, surprisingly, he did not seem to think I was crazy.