Sunday, August 31, 2014

Saw a solitary flower open on a Hairy Willowherb plant. 
Great Willowherb, Epilobium hirsutum, AKA Hairy Willowherb, Codlins and Cream and Cherry pie. 
I should have got round to taking a series earlier in the summer.
Snipped it off and took some shots. One advantage was I could take some pix of the seeding.

Once again such small seeds for so large a plant. No wonder that it can spread so easily.

The lightest of breezes would carry this achene and papus for miles.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Decided to give a last clip to the extending creepers of the 

Virginia creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia,  in the pathway to the back of the flat. When it rains it always manages to sprinkle water when we go past. I suppose it will be soon that we get the superb red leaf show.

I snipped off a flower sprig when doing it so decided to take macro shots. It seems peculiar that such a large spreading creeper can have such a small blossom. Hardly noticeable hidden within the mass of green leaves.

It isn't a pretty flower yet it has a beauty all of its own. No petals but a pattern that opens out from the pea-shaped bud.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Surprised a housewife in the Pens this morning. I knocked on the door and asked if she minded if I removed a weed growing on the verge of her lawn.
She looked at me at first as though I were mad perhaps (Could there be some truth in that?). 
I explained that I took pix of flowers and that it was one that I had photographed years back but had lost when my hard drive corrupted.

Orange Hawkweed, AKA Fox and Cubs, Devil’s paintbrush, Hieracium aurantiacum  or Pilosella aurantiaca, a branch of the aster species once a garden flower but now scattered far and wide.

A extremely hairy calyx but a really striking orangey-red flower.

The 'clock' is a bare 10mm across and the seeds are black rather than brown like the hawkbeard sp. I carefully took some and hopefully planted them in one of the flower pots. 
Of Hawkweed in general Culpeper says - -
There are several sorts of Hawk-weed, but they are similar in virtues.
Government and virtues :— Saturn owns it, Hawkweed (saith Dioscorides) is cooling, somewhat drying and binding, and therefore good for the heat of the stomach, and gnawings therein; for inflammations and the hot fits of agues. The juice thereof in wine, helps digestion, discusses wind, hinders crudities abiding in the stomach, and helps the difficulty of making water, the biting of venomous serpents, and stinging of the scorpion, if the herb be also outwardly applied to the place, and is very good against all other poisons, A scruple of the dried root given in wine and vinegar, is profitable for those that have the dropsy. The decoction of the herb taken in honey, digests the phlegm in the chest or lungs, and with Hyssop helps the cough. The decoction thereof, and of wild Succory, made with wine, and taken, helps the wind cholic and hardness of the spleen; it procures rest and sleep, hinders venery and venerous dreams, cooling heats, purges the stomach, increases blood, and helps the diseases of the reins and bladder. Outwardly applied, it is singularly good for all the defects and diseases of the eyes, used with some women's milk; and used with good success in fretting or creeping ulcers, especially in the beginning.

Amongst a further discourse. 

We have gone; we have fled
out into the world we go;
we have left our home,
and we will wander
and roam, until we find
a new haven. Then we will 
in turn put forth a new generation.
People will curse us
they will say “Damned Weeds”;
but we know we are not damned
for we are the beauty
of nature and we too are
children of the Mother Goddess
as people themselves are.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Just had he delivery of the controller and twin flash set. Cost me an arm and TWO legs. However I was delighted to see on EBay a set in Japan with the 1200 AF flash head for sale at £200 more than I paid for the twin flash set. I can use it with my 1200AF ring flash  as a TTL setting or as manual which-ever I choose.

Set it up and took a 2nd series of Geranium robertianum in the pot on my concrete slab in the porch.

The above shot was the only one that I needed to load up Adobe Elements 3 to darken the highlights from the TTL image.
 I wa so elated that I treated myself to a bottle of James Cook rum at Liddl's to toast the success.
Now I need to buy a 1200AF ring-flash head. If I can find one I can then sell my 1200 AF flash control unit as well as my 80 one. 
Can it possibly be that I have come out on the winning side at last?
I am now waiting for the bomb to drop.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tokk the sports pages over for John this morning and noticed some flowers growing along the outside of the garden wall. I wondered if it was the Purple Toadflax that he had been talking about Saturday
However after I cut a sprig and photographed it I could not find it in either my Octopus book or the Readers Digest wild flower book
I combined a couple of the pix and set it up in Flowers and the ID groups on Flickr.
Yes it is Purple Toadflax, Linaria purpurea, so I renamed all the JPG's and set them in my flower folder. Once again such a small flower but such a little beauty.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sorting through negative scans and came upon a couple of mid 1960's of jumping the Middle Yeo. Must have been taken before 1967 because the Brighton Terrace houses are still there.
Used to be a popular challenge to issue, "Can you jump the river" Those who failed to land on the top of the bank used to find midway down the bank there were stinging nettles. Often they would let go and end up falling backward into the river. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Because of rain threatening I went out to Yatton station for pix of the Torbay Express. I had been intending to go to Nailsea & Backwell station but there is no cover there. Loco was late and barrelled through the station fast. Trouble with the camera on/off switch meant I could only get one shot, however that was acceptable.
On the way back I stopped at the M5 bridge in Davis Lane to see what the little yellow flower patches were.
It was Meadow Vetchling Lathyrus pratensis so I snipped off a small spray and took a series of shots when I got back.


One pic also showed a couple of seed pods, I took them off afterwards and put them on the top of a flower pot. If they grow Good, if not nothing is lost anyway. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Scarlet Pimpernel Anagallis arvensis, AKA Poor man’s weather glass, Shepherds sundial, Change of weather and Laughter bringer. When the flower is open then it will be fine all day, if the flower does not open, then in spite of sunshine being present, there will probably be rain showers.
Following Roger Phillips' example I am now taking pix of the plant structure, leaf style and also when I can side pix of the flowers.

I managed to lift a root and pot the little plant, Hope it will survive but will keep my eyes open and water it if needed. It always makes me think of when some years ago I put a couple of pix on Arcanum Cafe, one of the pix was a seed head. It looked something like a grape, one member asked me if they were worth collecting to eat. I had to point out that they were only about 5 mm in size and it would take quite a lot of them to make a mouthful.

Managed this time to get a side shot showing the calyx as well as the centre of the flower. There is no doubt about it the 10 dioptre lens is good and permits 2 x life-size pix without adding exposure time or f stops. The new 1200 ring flash is performing quite as well as the old one used to,

Sun Spurge Euphoria helioscopia. 
I am constantly amazed at the plants that turn up under my nose. Here is yet another that I discovered in my own plot.
When I first saw it I immediately thought “Ah Wood Spurge as I saw at My Niece Jane’s”. Closer examination reveald that it had no petal to its flowers – tiny things of only about 3 to 4 mm in size. In fact it was only when viewed through the camera lens with a 10 dioptre added that they really became discernable. Like the Wood Spurge this plant has both male/female fertilisation in the flower. Each structure contains a female flower and one or more very small male flowers. This is known as a Cyathium  

Culpeper says, of Spurge :—
Of Spurge the greater and lesser, they are both (taken inwardly) too violent for common use; outwardly in ointments, they cleanse the skin, take away sunburning.  
This is hardly surprising as its juice contains the poison euphorbone. Sheep that have ingested the plant when cropping have suffered severe inflammation of the mouth and extreme gastro-enteritis as a result. In fact the juice of Wood Spurge has been used in North Africa to poison the tips of arrows.  

I was astonished to find in one 3 x life-size picture an equally minuscule beetle.  but unfortunately unable to take a better pic of it in all its 4 mm glory.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I noticed some Ground Ivy Glechoma hederacea still flowering I thought it would have been over by now but this had probably been cropped by the lawn contractors.
Took a sprig in and got some shots of it.
I have taken previously but not any pix to show the plant stem and leaf.

Leaf top view above
Leaf back Left

Flower not at its best as it would have been a couple of months earlier.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Oh what a surprise, I decided to take some macro shots of what I had always thought of as Doves foot Cranesbill. When I checked i found that it was in fact Herb Robert Geranium robertianum  petal shape was diferrent as were the leaves too.

Seed pod is a brilliant crimson and perhaps suggestive of its blood saving  propensity.

On Herb Robert Culpeper is commendably short :—

Government and virtues.] It is under the dominion of Venus. Herb Robert is commended not only against the stone, but to stay blood, where or howsoever flowing; it speedily heals all green wounds, and is effectual in old ulcers in the privy parts, or else-where. You may persuade yourself this is true, and also conceive a good reason for it, do but consider it is an herb of Venus, for all it hath a man's name.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Once again a flower growing outside my front door. The Common Mallow Malvas sylvestris is not noticable until the flowers open. Then the bright red contrasts with the faily large green leaves. 

A favourite of both slugs and snails and also the caterpillars of some moths and butterflies the leaves are often decimated with holes. When I was young we used to strip away the dead calyx from the seed pods and eat the seeds calling them Cheeses.

I suppose that today the Health and Safety 'wizards' would throw up their hands aghast at such behaviour.

However they never did us any harm and Lord only knows how many I ate.

Of mallows Culpeper says :--
Government and virtues.] Venus owns them both. The leaves of either of the sorts, both specified, and the roots also boiled in wine or water, or in broth with Parsley or Fennel roots, do help to open the body, and are very convenient in hot agues, or other distempers of the body, to apply the leaves so boiled warm to the belly. It not only voids hot, choleric, and other offensive humours, but eases the pains and torments of the belly coming thereby; and are therefore used in all clysters conducing to those purposes. The same used by nurses procures them store of milk. The decoction of the seed of any of the common Mallows made in milk or wine, doth marvellously help excoriations, the phthisic pleurisy, and other diseases of the chest and lungs, that proceed of hot causes, if it be continued taking for some time together. The leaves and roots work the same effects. They help much also in the excoriations of the bowels, and hardness of the mother, and in all hot and sharp diseases thereof. The juice drank in wine, or the decoction of them therein, do help women to a speedy and easy delivery. Pliny saith, that whosoever takes a spoonful of any of the Mallows, shall that day be free from all diseases that may come unto him; and that it is especially good for the falling-sickness. The syrup also and conserve made of the flowers, are very effectual for the same diseases, and to open the body, being costive. The leaves bruised, and laid to the eyes with a little honey, take away the imposthumations of them. The leaves bruised or rubbed upon any place stung with bees, wasps, or the like, presently take away the pain, redness, and swelling that rise thereupon. And Dioscorides saith, The decoction of the roots and leaves helps all sorts of poison, so as the poison be presently voided by vomit. A poultice made of the leaves boiled and bruised, with some bean or barley flower, and oil of Roses added, is an especial remedy against all hard tumours and inflammations, or imposthumes, or swellings of the privities, and other parts. 
It seems that he praises the seeds when used and although we did not necessarily have pleurisy or ecoriations we used to enjoy eating them. Also brings back the memories of 'Bread and Cheese' as we used to call the first green leaf sprays of the hawthorn that we plucked from the bushes and ate on our way to school as infants.  


Sunday, August 03, 2014

After the last chancy occurrence I decided to go to Yatton station for the Torbay express run. Not so many folk there as there normally is. Maybe the novelty is wearing off for those that just look. I recalled to one of the pic takers that when I was on the milk round I got to Kenn Moor gate railway bridge one morning and there was folk looking up the line. I thought “Trouble” Something wrong?” I asked “No” I was told “There is a 125 coming though this morning” People queuing up to watch and take pix of a Diesel Loco. Now it had gone full circle and we wait for half an hour to see a steam train.
The Bristol to Weymouth excursion for this week end was cancelled because of low bookings. I reckon that money is getting tighter, and with school holidays there is more cash needed for little trips rather than a day out.
I got some good shots of Nunney castle in spite of the heat. She was steaming well and the smoke was well visible .

Nunney Castle Runs though Yatton Station with steam blowing well.