Monday, 13 March 2017

Cigar-shaped buds

Fifteen years ago, I went to horticultural college. I had always been something of a botanical binomial nomenclature geek (illustrated right there by my use of that phrase). Our weekly 'plant ident tests' ingrained this geekness deep into my psyche. I had a running battle (friendly) with 'the other Catherine' on my course. (Same name as me, different spelling). We were both the only students with 100% on the idents for ages. We both sailed through conifers, perennials not in flower, evergreen shrubs, even deciduous trees in bud. Hence my post title. I will never forget Fagus sylvatica, the common beech, in bud because it has buds shaped like little cigars and its name starts with 'fag' - English slang for cigarette. Tortuous perhaps, but it has worked for me all these years.

Fagus sylvatica - cigar shaped buds

So beech trees always remind me of plant idents at college, and 'the other Catherine'. And the day she missed an 'i' in 'drummondii' and lost half a percent. Leaving me plant ident champion with my 100% record intact. I think I am perhaps a little prouder of that than I should be.

On my walk today, I made a bundle.Two rusty nails from the pavement on my way to the fields. A handful of buckthorn berries picked up from the path. I trampled my cloth in some patches of green algae on the way across a muddy field.

When I reached the top of the hill, some primroses caught my eye, growing among the brambles.
Of course I wouldn't pick the primroses, but I gathered a few of the deep purple bramble leaves for my bundle.

Bundle ready to roll
You will see by my feet in the last photo that I am perched on a log with my knees in a less than ladylike position. But it was a handy perch alongside a flat patch of bare ground on which to lay out my cloth, so decorum (as if I have any?!) went by the board.

And the beautiful old beech, by the stile has an exposed network of roots where the bank has eroded. A perfect spot to hold this little bundle, firm and contained but in the full face of the wind and rain when it comes, as it surely will if the lion in March has not yet given way to the lamb.

Can you see the bundle?

This bundle is the latest in my ClothCache project. This is the footpath running along the top of Pretwood Hill just outside Ilminster, Somerset. If you are passing and you spot it and have an urge to take it, you are welcome. Leave me something in return if the spirit moves you. Tell me on this blog or via Instagram with the #clothcache if you will. 

And the final photo goes to little Stella who is always up for a photo bomb and is here doing it in stile! Thank you for reading, your interest is greatly appreciated. k3n xx

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