Saturday 7 November 2015

Water Weed

Roughly a third of Milton Country Park is water.  However, very little vegetation grows on the surface of the water, so water borne plants have little impact on the landscape of the park.  

Duckweed on Dickerson's Pit
Dickerson's Pit - 6 September 2015

Duckweed is one plant that does have some impact on the landscape.  It is particularly prominent on Hall's Pond where the whole surface is covered with confluent growth before being broken up by the ducks, coots and swans on that water.  When my pet labrador  was a puppy she obviously mistook the duckweed for grass, jumped down onto it and got a very wet surprise.

The photograph above was taken from the bridge at the north western corner of Dickerson's pit where the covering of duckweed has remained undisturbed. 

Water soldier on Dickerson's Pit
Dickerson's Pit - 29 June 2015

During late June and early July masses of small white flowers can be seen floating on Dickerson's Pit, particularly at its northern end.  Since none of these flowers could be reached from the shore, I cannot be certain of their identification, but as far as I can tell they are water crowfoot.  I would welcome confirmation or otherwise of this.

Amphibious bistort
Dickerson's Pit - 22 June 2015

Another water borne plant confined to the nothern end of Dickerson's Pit is amphibious bistort shown here.

Water lilies in inlet off Dickerson's Pit
Dickerson's Pit - 19 June 2015

My final image of floating plants is also from Dickerson's Pit and is of the one patch of white water lilies in the park.  As far as flowers were concerned, this was about as good as it got! Just a few flowers completely hidden by a very luxurious growth of leaves.  To all intents and purposes, they seem overcrowded despite having the whole of the pit to expand into.

Reed Bed

Flowering reed bed
Todd's Pit - 2 September 2015

I have been following the progress of this reed bed since my post Goodbye Autumn  in May with a further update in June in my post  Going Green.  Finally the reeds (Phragmites australis or common reed) are in full flower, though, even now, there are one or two seed heads left from last year.

Bulrushes among the reeds
Todd's Pit - 20 September 2015

There are a few bulrushes growing in the same reed bed.  Their strong upright habit is in stark contrast to the fluidity of the reeds around them.

Books and Blogs

As I mentioned in my previous post  Intimate Landscapes, one of the major inspirations for this project was Eliot Porter.  His book 'Initimate Landscapes', which I have read and reread any number of times, has been particularly influential.  I have also a copy of his classic 'In Wildness is the Preservation of the World'.  In this book, published in 1962, Porter's pictures of New England are paired with extracts from the work of David Thoreau written a century earlier.  Thoreau spent two years living a simple life in a log cabin in woods besides a pond.  His experiences are recounted in his book 'Walden'.  Both of Porter's books celebrate the beauty of what I would call unspectacular nature; nature that is not sublime or extreme or exotic, just interesting and beautiful for anyone who cares to look.

Another book in my collection is 'Landscapes of the Spirit' by  William Neill with photographs taken in Canada and the United States of America including Hawaii.  Subjects range from grand vistas taken in Yosemite National park to close up studies of tree bark.  I found the intermediate scale images of woods and forests particularly appealing and relevant.  Accompanying the photographs are texts by various authors including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Paul Caponigro, and Walt Whitman.  His work can also be seen on his website William Neill Photography

Next: Summer Fruit

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