Blousey blossoms, silver sage lichens and a nature’s shades fungi…..

blossom by the train track

I’d fully intended to share the last of the pictures from our walk up to Keswick Mill the other week somewhat sooner but then with one thing and another, writing about knitting the second Moonaker shawl and making custard based puddings it completely slipped my mind….but better late than never……

I’m very lucky where I live, there’s a bus stop right outside the house, many’s the time I’ve quickly darted back inside to change my coat or add a warmer scarf depending on the weather while waiting for the bus to take me into town if I’m too lazy too walk in, and then not even 5 minutes leisurely stroll in the other direction are the meadows and marshes that make my heart fair sing each time I walk across them…..on slightly higher ground runs the train track, and from time to time you can hear the odd rumble of the trains as they hurtle along….last year we had a real treat as a steam train was on the line, at the time I was doing my Jenny Agutter impression of waving at the train for my boyfriend (and yes, I resisted the urge to show any petticoat) so to see a steam train  suddenly come chugging away from behind the hedgerow with a whoo whoo whistle of steam was very exciting.

There’s more than one walk over the meadows and one such way leads along the back of a local golf club, hazel and blackthorn hedges line both sides of the path that runs almost parallel for a time with the train track. Right now the blossoms there are so blousey and meringue like….frothy white bunches bursting with lime green pollen tipped filaments .

hedgerow of lichen

Further up across the meadows, a bit away from the trains are a couple of pasture fields edged with a hedgerow of hawthorn, come Autumn these are a foragers heaven but for now they’re a bit sparce….though at first glance I thought something was up with the blossom but it was only when we got closer that I could see what I’d mistaken for very early Spring blooms was in fact a mass of silver lichen….most of the hawthorn trees and hedges on the marshes are home to patches of sagey silver lichen of some sort but these ones are almost covered with it…..

lichen in Spring sunshine

In the sunshine the bare branches twinkle and I’ve made a note to try and remember to head up this way come Winter as lichen on a frosty morning is stunning.

silver lichen

Lichen seems to particularly like growing on hawthorn, and it really did look very pretty.  I love that sagey silver colour and it made me think of some of the natural un-dyed sheep wool I have on shade cards where the greys are very silvery.  I’m also thinking how interesting this would be to use for a stranded colourwork source…….

fungi growng near the golf course

On the way back we noticed this amazing fungi, I’m not quite sure how we missed it before but then sometimes I tend to only look in one direction as I walk, noticing one side on the way out and then the other as we head back homewards…..

The fungi spiraled all the way up the fence post and so I suspect something in the hedge had become a bit unruly for the golf club and so it’s been trimmed back rather and now serves as part of the fencing.

golf club fungi

Looking at those circles and bands of brown and grey I couldn’t not but be reminded of some of the gorgeous shawls on the recent KnitBritish/BritYarn kal …..beautiful soft shades of fawn, moorit, chestnut…teemed up with shaela,sholmit…gentle scalloped edges…..the fungi looked so strokable and velvety, like a beautiful Paul Poiret opera cape.

Buttercups, marigolds and yellow tree fungi……..

golden buttercups

 

Last Sunday really lived up to it’s name, glorious sun-shiney weather all day long.  Thanks to a certain someone waking up at the crack of dawn, mewing and demanding tummy rubs, we had an early start to our day (so much for a nice long lay in)….as it was such a nice day we decided to head out and go for a good long walk, and wandered up to the UEA as it’s really beautiful there this time of year.

The walk from ours is pretty sheltered, we avoid the bigger roads where possible and once we get to Waitrose it’s just a turn off the road and suddenly we’re walking along the riverbank and across the wetlands and marshes that lay either side.

I love seeing buttercups and always do the “do you like butter” test…it seems like a really good Spring for them this year, everywhere there’s golden yellow blossoms, like a scattering of sparkling sunshine across the ground.

 

dandelions in the sunshine

 

Maybe it’s a good year for yellow flowers in general, along with buttercups I couldn’t help noticing the abundance of dandelions that have sprung up everywhere this year…we’ve had loads more than normal in our garden and I’m seeing them on verges everywhere I go…..grassy banks almost covered in tiny suns, yellow and sunny and instantly smile inducing…..the walk to the UEA was no different, the dandelions were everywhere……

 

fallen tree with fungi underneath

 

It seemed to be a day of yellow…we walked past this lovely fallen tree, bark all gnarly and covered in moss, and we were struck by the amazing and vivid coloured fungi that was growing underneath….

I clambered through some rather vicious nettles to get closer for pictures…the fungi looked like yellow spray cream, or insulation foam…..it was an amazing colour and it looked almost velvety…I’ve no idea what it was but it looked jolly impressive.

 

wild flowers in May

 

The ground round the UEA changes no end, so one moment it’s quite wet and marshy, and then you get what I think of as heathland or common land, where it’s all dry and scrubby and there’s gorse and broom growing. Low down though were huge areas of what looked like a variety of red dead nettle,but it smelt quite minty….not sure what it was (and realize how lacking my knowledge of local wild flowers was…last year I tried to learn the names of the wild flowers growing on the marshes behind where we live).

Scattered around it was some Birds-eye Speedwell…..we’ve had quite a lot of this growing in one of the raised beds this year and it’s also sprung up near the compost bin.  It’s such a beautiful and delicate little flower, a gorgeous blue with tiny striped petals.

 

view across the lake at the UEA

 

This is a view across the UEA lake….it looks like a little island but it’s just the other side of the river bank…..it’s a lovely walk and we ended up strolling all the way around it……in the Summer it’s nice to pack up a lunch and take a breather on one of the benches dotted around…..there’s often lots of ducks in the water, however on Sunday the world and his wife had taken their dogs for a walk and they kept jumping in the lake so the ducks were keeping out of their way.

 

green catkins

 

The catkins on the trees are looking amazing right now….these ones look spikey but actually felt soft and rubbery….I love their piney shape.

 

catkins losing their fluff

 

Other catkins are moulting, blossoms all whispey like dandelion clocks…..tiny birds were flying up and away from them, gathering the softest of linings for the insides of nests…….

 

flowering catkins

 

The word catkin is old dutch for “kitten” or “puss” so the fact these tiny kitties are surrounded by fluffy bits makes me think of our own furry puss-cat at home (he hates being brushed and while I’m holding him trying to sort his coat out, my boyfriend will be shovelling cat treats into Bernard’s mouth…it’s a bit like the engine driver shovelling in coal on a steam train)

 

horse chestnut blossoms with a fat little bee

 

It only seems a couple of weeks ago that the horse chestnut trees were bare, branches tipped with fat sticky buds, glistening and shiny like hot cross buns…..all of a sudden the leaves burst open and the huge blossoms appear like a magicians trick…as if by magic….one moment nothing and then …tah dah…a bouquet of flowers……the blossoms on this old tree were so beautiful, tiny flecks of pink amongst the milky white petals….a few fat bumble bees were buzzing softly, nestling into each part of the flower before tumbling off all dusty and pollen drenched.

 

marsh buttercups

 

And more yellow flowers, this giant buttercup like plant is in fact a marsh marigold, lovely and golden yellow.  A couple of ducks were nibbling away at something underneath it in the water but as we walked by they quacked and swam away……This was definitely a day for buttery yellow flowers.

marvellous and magickal mushrooms….

mushrooms

 

Now the weather is slowly changing, Summer is coming to a close (though this week we’ve been having some truly magnificent September sunshine which is much appreciated) and Autumn is definitely making herself known……leaves on the ground are scrunchy, crisp and crunchy, fantastic oranges and yellows and rich browns……best of all are the mushrooms peeping up through the woody covering….. I think these ones look fantastic, their gills are so defined, and look so mushroomy.

Many look more like something wonderous and magickal you’d expect to see on the work table of Mister Finch than that growing quietly under plum trees and hedgerows…..

 

mushroom 1

 

This one is a poisonous one and is a Deathcap (Amanita phalloides) ……… it’s a sickly green shade and although it isn’t pretty it looked stunning growing under the hedgerow.

 

mushroom 2

 

In fact there were a couple growing, they looked amazing, that yellowy green was actually quite intense under the light of the trees and looked really eerie and definitely wasn’t something you’d want to be eating.  But there was something quite captivating about their elegant shape and that slightly sickly green..

 

mushroom 3

 

I’m always amazed at how the woody floor changes within a couple of days….earlier in the week there was nothing and now it seems every few steps there are new fungi and mushrooms pushing up through mulch and leaves….. I love their shape and colour though am not confident enough to pick any for cooking……I’d rather enjoy their beauty as they grow (though mushrooms are a favourite food and I could happily eat them round the clock)

 

mushroom 4

 

And it’s not just under shaded canopies of trees and under hedges, even in the open on the verges into the city, masses of mushrooms are growing, maybe because we’d had a little rain the day before but the grass was full of soft shades of brown, umber, fawn, chamoisee, buff and camel, taupe, tawny and sienna……weird shapes growing, stretching upwards out of the green.

 

mushroom 5

 

These look like something Gaudi could have designed, in their cluster they look so architectural….. they were a beautiful soft velvety brown with speckled tops…the verge was covered in them.