Spring is a lovely time. Things start growing again. Buds, flowers, delicate green leaves, new shoots. Life renewing itself. A good time to get out and take some pictures. Photograph something that catches your eye. Maybe you don’t know what it is. Go home look it up. That’s what I did!
Here is a bramble bud (below). This will become a flower, I think? Then, eventually a blackberry. It’s amazing really; we just take it for granted that this extraordinary process of rebirth and renewal carries on every year under our noses!
Dandelions I do know! So common, yet so wonderful when you look closely! I went maximum depth of field (f/18) for this pair!
Fresh oak leaves are gorgeous. They start out perfect and untouched, but soon get eaten and colonised by every leaf chewer and sap sucker under the sun! Oak trees support more invertebrates (and lichens) than any other tree in the UK. All too soon, their leaves will be spotted and dotted and covered in holes; sprouting galls but somehow managing to produce enough sugars and energy for the tree to take in and do it all again next year. How is the balance maintained? We used to talk about the balance of nature, but it’s not fashionable these days!
Another tree which starts off with fresh green leaves which look like you could eat them (don’t!) is the sycamore (above). Over the summer the leaves will get tough and spotty and turn brown or yellow eventually. But they will have supported billions of aphids! And who knows, perhaps all that honeydew being squirted out of a billion tiny insect bums, did the tree some good in the long run?
I have often vaguely wondered what these things are (below)! You are not much of a naturalist I can hear some readers muttering! Oh well, we can all learn something new every day. They are, if I am not mistaken, Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra) fruits. But English Elm (Ulmus procera) fruits are very similar. Not much of a fruit really, just small winged discs about 1cm across, with a single seed in the centre.
And ever faithful, primroses spring up each year. How do they know when to wake up? Temperature in the soil I suppose.
And we can’t have a blog of Spring without bluebells!
Who doesn’t love daisies? We all, boys and girls, must have tried making daisies chains sometime! It’s just a case of keeping the wonder going as you get older. Carry a magnifying glass, it brings the wonder a little closer!
So much more I could have included, but you don’t have to go far to see any of these plants in the UK. We truly are blessed.
I am an entomologist with a background in quarantine pests and invasive invertebrates. I studied zoology at Imperial College (University of London) and did a PhD on the population dynamics of a cereal aphid (Metopolophium dirhodum) in the UK. I spent 5 years with the British Antarctic Survey studing cold hardiness of Antarctic invertebates and 17 years with the Food and Environment Research Agency. My main interests now are natural history, photography, painting and bird watching.