Summer is yet to happen, it is only mid August, yet the first signs of autumn are with us. Rosebay Willow Herb flowers are turning to seed (and the seed pods look as good as the flowers), Bind Wind is in flower along the hedges where summers grasses are drying, turning colour and looking really autumnal, Cow Parsley crowns have dried and the seed pods bursting spreading next years crop all about. The Crab Apple tree is loaded with its tiny green apples not yet ripe enough to pick and make jam but they are on the way. Rowan trees are in berry and the forest floor is littered with shed seed pods.
The Himalayan Balsam is in full flower. True this is now classed as a weed….but for me it still is a spectacular wild flower.
I am afraid I am on a collision course with my Conservation friends. I know it is an invasive specie but two facts really annoy me. As justification for their dislike they say that it is of no value to insects….well my observations and images prove otherwise…bees delve deep into the flower heads for pollen and various Butterflies lay eggs on the plants on which their caterpillars feed and new a new generation comes to life.
The second fact is that they organise ‘Balsam Bashing’ events to try an eradicate the plant….but this is being done now whilst the plant is in flower. So all those seeds that have been forming through the summer are spread! Then they leave the plants to die in clumps where they are pulled, as the plant is tubular and holds moisture the flower seeds continue to develop and so spread again by the winds or more likely the local birds.
Yep…autumn may well be a little way off but the first signs are here…..take a look…
(C) David Oakes 2015