Saturday, July 18, 2009

An urban walk round Hollington

I have always enjoyed walking round streets visited little except by those who live there.  Today I walked from Fern Road in Hollington on the western side of Hastings in a circuit around the eastern side of the Hollington Stream/Filsham Valley (see below).

20090715 Filsham Valley from footbridge

Note the fine stand of self-sown buddleia at the bottom of the picture.

In some places obscure public footpaths weave among the houses, usually with close-mown lawns containing a wide range of colourful short turf plants - bird's-foot trefoil, cat's-ear, self-heal, yarrow.

20090715 Westerleigh Close, Hollington 1

On one bank by a busy road I found, among the Irish ivy, a patch of fading woodruff : not a common plant in our part of East Sussex.  The Dr Pepper can adds, I feel, to the picture with a nice touch of colour

 20090715 Woodruff Hollington Park Road

Woodruff and ivy are quiet plants, but sometimes there is a hot spot, such as this duet of tufted vetch and smooth hawksbeard by a footpath.

20090715 Crepis cappillaris & Vicia cracca

Friday, July 17, 2009

Broidered bracken

Under the hedge across the lane in front of our house is a frond of bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) that is very different from the norm.

The pinnae and pinnules are congested and twisted giving the very healthy-looking frond a 'crispy' appearance.  No weed killer is used in our area, so it is not a 'herbicide morph'.

20080709 South View bracken var 038

I e-mailed the above picture to Graham Ackers, a friend from the British Pteridological Society, and he replied "I do not think this variation has been given a botanical name, but horticulturally (if anyone was foolish enough to cultivate it) this would be Pteridium aquilinum 'Crispatum'".  He adds that this form is "occasional to rare".

'Broidered' by the way was a word I made up only to discover via Google that it already exists and seems quite appropriate for my bracken frond.  Maybe I had seen the word somewhere before and tucked it into the back of my brain.  The translator of Voltaire's philosophical dictionary, for example, described love as "the stuff of nature broidered by nature" (C’est l’étoffe de la nature que l’imagination a brodée).  Not that I have actually read Voltaire's philosophical dictionary.