September 10, 2011

Red alert!

From now until spring, the robin's will be one of the only songs you'll hear.
Picture by Helen Cowdy

Conkers – so tactile and irresistible!
In autumn, mushrooms can spring up almost overnight
Firethorns are much planted in cities, and, with rowans, are important in helping birds such as thrushes and blackbirds to survive the winter
Crab apples are high in pectin, prized for centuries for setting jams and preserves
Fading hydrangeas have one last flush of colour before going brown
Many London councils leave dead wood in parks to encourage stag beetles. It works – the capital is one of their last strongholds
Holly berries are already ripening. Hollies with untoothed leaves are often very old
Rosehips are very high in vitamin c, and in WW2 were collected and turned into syrup to combat rickets in children as fresh fruit was often in short supply
Poppies and cornflowers growing (incongruously) in Brockwell Park
The leaves of Virginia creeper turn almost impossibly red in autumn