Sunday, 20 January 2013

January - Contrasts

An article by Heather Martin

 2013 began with weather forecasters excitedly totting up figures then declaring 2012 to have been the wettest in England since records began. It certainly felt like it! During the first week in January the access track to our wood was too waterlogged to drive across, the ground squelched with every footstep and the leaflitter on the woodland floor was sodden and slippery.
Temperatures however were exceptionally mild - regularly into double figures and looking around it was difficult to to believe the calendar date because hazel (Corylus avellana) catkins dangled in sheltered spots.

 Elder (Sambucus nigra) buds had burst into green and alongside the path by the stream, Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis) and Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum) shoots were forcing their way through layers of rotting leaves.
Sambucus nigra
Allium ursinum
Mercurialis perennis
A Red Campion (Silene dioica) flower was in full bloom up against our log store wall.

Was this really Winter?
By the start of the third week of the month temperatures had plummeted and the ground frozen solid. Ice crystals decorated the living and the dead, accumulating to transform even decaying grass stems into objects of frosted beauty.

As we drove into the wood on the 18th January to fetch logs for our fire at home, snowflakes gently drifted down around us coating everything.
Proper Winter!

All picutres by Heather Martin 20/01/2013

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