Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring North Fife 2010

Spring, It has been a long winter and suddenly with the warmth of the last few days everything is bursting out and quite soon all will be in leaf. A good feeling, as always when the sap rises though today there is a distinct sulphurous atmosphere from the Icelandic volcano eruption.

Cherry Plum, Prunus cerasifera Blossom. We have many in the Garden, they provide a good root stock for grafting other prunus types.

Ash flower buds.

Willow flowers, sometimes called pussy willow, now being visited by bees, butterflies and other insects. Willows are dioecious with male and female flowers appearing as catkins on different plants; the catkins are produced early in the spring, often before the leaves, or as the new leaves open.
The staminate (male) flowers are without either calyx or corolla; they consist simply of stamens, varying in number from two to ten, accompanied by a nectariferous gland and inserted on the base of a scale which is itself borne on the rachis of a drooping raceme called a catkin, or ament. This scale is oval and entire and very hairy. The anthers are rose colored in the bud but orange or purple after the flower opens, they are two-celled and the cells open longitudinally. The filaments are threadlike, usually pale yellow, and often hairy.
The pistillate (female) flowers are also without calyx or corolla; and consist of a single ovary accompanied by a small flat nectar gland and inserted on the base of a scale which is likewise borne on the rachis of a catkin. The ovary is one-celled, the style two-lobed, and the ovules numerous.

Horse chestnut flower bud, yet to reach its full magnificence.

Sea Buckthorn, worth growing for the berries which are medicinal too, make good relishes.

Lesser Celandine is a native perennial common throughout the UK in damp meadows, woods, lawns, hedgebanks and beside streams and ditches. It thrives in nutrient rich soil and is a troublesome garden weed. It is shade tolerant and in woodland lesser celandine forms part of the pre-vernal community. It grows on soils with a pH of 4.4 to 6.9. Growth is poor in dry conditions but the plant dies down in summer and then becomes resistant to drought. It grows in my garden in local woodlands, here photographed on a roadside verge.

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