alder purple

alder-catkins teme-at-the-bridgeWe walked on Boxing Day, just  a little stroll down to the bridge before the rain came again. It is mild for late  December and the halt brought about by the cold weeks before Christmas has been reversed by the endless pulses of rain from the Atlantic. There are stirrings in the hedges and edges.

The Teme is just about back in its channel although all of the low places remain waterlogged and puddly.

At the bridge we stopped to admire the beautiful purple colouring of the developing Alder catkins (Alnus glutinosa). Alders are wetland trees and the one I photographed has its feet in the Teme. The Kew website has some very interesting facts about alders here. It is a tree strongly associated with folklore because of its colouring, and with construction purposes because of its timber properties-the Rialto bridge in Venice is built on supports of alder.

The alders grow safely out of the reach of the hedge cutters that have trimmed all the local hedges now, removing most of the developing hazel catkins. A clean start for a New Year.


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