Saturday, 27 June 2015

Apple Blossom Time

Late April, early May is apple blossom time in Milton Country Park.

Apple Blossom 28 April 2015
I think young apple blossom, with its pink buds and light pink petals, is one of the prettiest tree blossoms.

Missing Images


Writing this blog in retrospect gives me the time to select and organise my photographs to tell a story.  Of course, to do this I have to have taken the right pictures in the first place; which, in turn, means I have to know the story I want to illustrate at the time of taking the photograph.  Unfortunately, I do not have enough knowledge of how changes in the park unfold to ensure I have got all the pictures I need.

In the case of apple blossom, looking through my photographs, I found one unsatisfactory image from 17th April.  This showed one insignificant tree coming into bloom.  In retrospect, I would like to have chronicled the build up of the blossom over the following three weeks. But I  just do not have the pictures.

Fen Road Entrance 28 April 2015
What I can show is that by end of the month, the blossom was anything but insignificant as this huge tree by the Fen Road entrance shows.

Main Entrance 4 May 2015
One thing that is quite noticeable with the fruit blossom is that it is not all at its best at the same time.  The first tree that I saw in mid April had already lost all its blossom by the time I took this photograph.  One factor in this may be the fragility of the blossom: one heavy shower of rain almost completely stripped one tree of all its flowers.

The trees on the drive from the main entrance are amongst the most eye catching and also the latest to come to flower.  This one was captured in early May.

In the Woods


Jack-by-the-Hedge in Woods by A14 30 April 2015
The woods and the path at the southern boundary of the park by the A14 are also painted white.  Here jack-by-the-hedge covers the floor of these woods.  Having walked through the woods (without a camera) I thought there was one long vista of jack-by-the-hedge.  When I came to photograph it, my memory was false as thickets of shrubs interrupted the view.

Comfrey in Woods by A14 28 April 2015
Equally prominent in the woods, and on the path alongside, is comfrey.  

There is an interesting contrast in the longevity of the blossoms of these two plants.  Jack-by-the-hedge quickly lost its impact as the flower heads turned to seed.  On the other hand, there was still a significant number of flowers  left on the comfrey well into June.

Long Lasting Blue


Borage by Children's Play Area 20 May 2015
 By the time I took this photograph, the apple blossom was finished.  However, I have included a picture of borage as this particular clump was already flowering before the end of April - ie when the apple blossom was out.  Unlike the apple blossom, the borage blooms seemed to get more and more prominent as the month went on.

Horse Chestnut


Old School Lane Entrance 8 May 2015
 As far as I am aware, there are only two horse chestnut trees in the park.  This magnificent specimen guards the path from Old School Lane.

Bluebell Surprise


Hall's Pond 30 April 2015
Another plant I did not know grew in the park - bluebells. I found a few small clumps of them growing by the seat on the western edge of Hall's pond.  From the clumps, I guess this was not the first year they have grown here.  Shows what you see when you really look.

A Longer Post Than Normal


This is a longer post then usual.  I have aimed at four to six images per post.  This is an arbitrary limit and I am keen that the blog is reactive as possible to what is happening in the park.  In this case,   I felt I needed to extra images to give a full portrait of the park at the beginning of May.

I have also added an about page to the blog to give the background to the project. 


Saturday, 13 June 2015

Going Green

In a period of about six weeks, the dominant colours in Milton Country Park change from drab browns and greys to the vibrant greens of fresh foliage.

Visitor centre completely surrounded by fresh vegetation
Visitor Centre 8 May 2015

By the May 8, the park is completely green.  Here the foliage surrounding the visitor centre is bathed in the golden light of dawn.

Hard to Picture  

I have found this post the most difficult so far in terms of creating good images which do justice to the change that took place in the park. 

The speed of the change alone has meant I have had little opportunity to go back and retake unsatisfactory shots.  Although the overall process took about six weeks, the actual time taken for any one particular species to go from tight bud to full leaf was a lot less.
Early leaves on hawthorn bush in front of bare trees
Path to East of Dickerson's Pit 17 April 2015
I set out to capture the 'tipping' point for hawthorn - the point at which the buds are open but the leaves are not yet fully grown. (For hawthorn, this metamorphosis took less than a fortnight.)  I could have tried to do this with a close-up of an individual branch, but I very much wanted to show the subject in the context of the park.  Unfortunately, the greening branches which seem so visible to the eye, simply merge into the background when photographed.  However, this bush is nicely distinct from the background, which is of trees with only minimal signs of leaves - nicely illustrating the different rates at which the trees and bushes gained their summer clothing.

In the Woods

New growth of bramble in woods by Dickerson's Pit
Woods Dickerson's Pit  13 April 2015
Some of the changes are less dramatic.  In this wood, the undergrowth is mainly bramble.  Bramble does not lose all its leaves over winter, so the alteration of appearence with the new growth is less dramatic.  Nevertheless, the bright green of this year's growth contrasts strongly with the tired coloration of the older leaves.

Wood canopy with fresh growth of willow and birch
Woods Dickerson's Pit 4 May 2015
In the canopy above, by early May, the willow trees have gained their leaves and the birch is beginning to show green.  Here the birch leaves, framed by two willow trees, glitter in the spring sunshine .

The Reedbed

Todd's Pit 13 May 2015
I first showed a picture of this reedbed in my post   Goodbye Autumn.  At that time, there was no sign of new growth at all.  Here in mid May, the old seed heads are still clearly visible; but, the main reed bed is now green.

All Green

Path to East of Dickerson's Pit 8 May 2015
This image was taken just a few yards from the picture show under 'Hard to Picture' and just three weeks later.  The path is now bordered by confluent green vegetation, giving a good indication of the speed of change.  This image disappoints me as it does not begin to reflect the beautiful spring morning that I experience.  But since a camera cannot record birds singing, the feel of a light breeze on my face, nor the coolness of the dawn air; it is hardly surprising that I find the picture lacking.