. . . . . . . preparing for moth balls

Wednesday, 7 October 2015


Trees are changing - and grass is fading where it is short and dry.

But what would our urban landscape be like without them? Sometimes their shapes are absorbed by the buildings round them. Sometimes they create the skyline.

Are you
How are your trees doing? (The ones in your garden, in parks, in streets. The ones you specially look at when you walk by.)

Are you following a particular tree?
If so - add a link to your post about it in the box below.

If not - why not start?
You can become a Loose and Leafy Tree Follower at any time in the year.
Do join us. Info. is here.

And before the box - here's some other info.
Loose and Leafy is about to be mothballed.
Broadly - my laptop hasn't been mended despite being sent away three times. The on/off button on my camera is starting to be depressed. It would be absurd to buy a new laptop for the sake of a blog - and the camera really takes priority.
It's not that the laptop doesn't work - after all, here I am typing away. It's just slow. I'm wasting too much time waiting for pages to load. And my meagre store of patience could be put to better use than staring at stuck screens until they un-freeze.

So . . . Loose and Leafy is being mothballed. BUT Treefollowing, Street Plant Posts and Stuckfooting will all continue.

Pat at Squirrelbasket is likely to become the Tree Following co-ordinator. Everything Tree Following will transfer to her as long as we can work out how to put a link box on a WordPress blog. (Can anyone advise?)

Street Plant Blogging will transfer to Hollis at Urban Plants, Urban Rocks. (She'll have a link box ready for you on 21st October.)

Stuck Foots? To be announced. (When I know!)

But don't worry. Loose and Leafy won't be shutting down in a blink of an eye. I'll make sure it's all set up so you can easily find your way to these other blogs. There's a little more to come on here too - a book review and a final look round.

I don't know when / if Loose and Leafy will burst upon your screens again after that - but if you would like to be certain not to miss it . . . and to save you coming and going to check . . . I suggest you sign up for it to be sent to you by email. There's a box to put your address in right at the top of the sidebar. That way you will be one of the first to know when it re-activates.

In the meantime, a slow computer won't break all connections. I may or may not be able to keep up to date with

 (no words, only one picture at a time, more straightforward!)
I'm on Twitter @LucyCorrander
and you can email me at looseandleafy@googlemail.com

Do support Pat and Hollis and . . . to be announced (!) when they take up the Tree Following and Street Plants and Stuck-footing batons . . . And don't forget there will be at least two extra posts here before I unpack the mothballs.

And at last what you are really waiting for - this month's Tree Following Link Box!
(As usual it will be staying open until the 24th of the month.)

Friday, 2 October 2015


Sycamore leaves and branches in evening light.
I'll begin by zapping you with colour.

This is 'my' sycamore - the one I'm following; taken in the evening.

I was going to say "It's not really that colour" when I realised I don't really know what colour it is. If I were nocturnal, daytime colours would be an aberration. And in the rain it's something else.

Sycamore tree in morning beside sea with ship in background.

Here it is on the morning of the same day.

Yet this isn't exactly right - for the sun was ahead on the right and not only was it lighting the tree in a morning-way, my camera and I were seeing it differently from each other..

Approached from another side, it was gently green and yellow and brown. From another a silhouette. From another it was almost wiped away in the white glare.

Sycamore trunk and brambles.

I can't get right close to its trunk because it's surrounded by brambles. Of the ones nearby (and there are many) these blackberries are the last to ripen. The sycamore's shade and a curve in the path combine to keep the sun away. They are sweet though.

(I know this because in a spirit of scientific enquiry I ate all the ripe ones I could reach.)

Fallen sycamore leaf and twigs.

Quite a few leaves are falling onto the path before they are brown - maybe because the tree is exposed to strong, easterly winds which drive straight at it from the length of the English Channel.

Fallen sycamore seeds on path.

Its seeds are blowing aside too. This one was a few feet beyond the over-hanging branches. One of the helicopter-blades has broken in the fall.

Close up of sycamore seeds on path showing seedlings and new growth of other plants.
Peering closer one can see that while autumn hits the tree, little plants are growing through the dry and un-nutritious soil. They will be trodden down before they get very tall but for such plants the year is a perpetual spring, regardless of the official season.

Single sycamore seed still on tree with its broken twin.
We can see that one of 'our' pair of seeds on 'our' tree is broken too. I have photo after blurred photo of this same seed because the tree wouldn't stop waggling around in the wind. But I've followed the progress of this particular seed over the last couple of months so I kept going back. (One day, I'll go and they'll be gone.) 

Sycamore keys.
I can't say this tree is lovely at present. As the leaves change colour (and some fall)  tightly packed clusters of seeds are revealed either against the sky or against the new yellows and paler greens. Individually they are fine - it's almost impossible to walk by without picking them up from the path and throwing them in the air to watch them spin round as they fall. But bunched up they can be ugly and unpleasant. These clusters here are looser and smaller than most - prettier.

(The reason I am able to identify one particular seed again and again is that the seeds on one low-hanging branch have developed farther apart from each other than those on the main part of the tree and one hangs at an odd angle.)

White skeletons of umbeliferous plants with seeds.

Slightly beyond the tree's shadow other plants are turning into skeletons. These dried stems will stand like this all winter.

But chicory is still flowering and hoverflies are fighting over individual flowers; dive bombing each other even if there are vacant ones on the same plant.

Hoverfly on chicory.

Why? Perhaps some flowers are already drunk-empty of  nectar and pollen? Or maybe hoverflies are jealous of each other and can't stand to see somone else on something good. Or maybe they don't like hoverflies who look different from themselves? (See below.) Anyone know?

Are you
Following a Tree?


Wonderful, easy to grasp first time and brilliantly short explanation from Peter Gibbs of the BBC.


Royal Entomological Society
"Over 250 species have been recorded in the UK, and more than 85 species have been found in a single garden."

British Hoverflies - Useful for ID because there are masses of pictures!

Nature Guide UK - I've only just found this site and have added it to the Loose and Leafy list of helpful and interesting ID sites. Even bigger pictures! It has other insects too. Well worth a browse.

also on Nature Spot

Some Loose and Leafy blog posts where hoverflies make guest appearances.

The Next Box for Tree Following Links
will open at 7am (UK time) on 7th October 2015
and close at 7pm on the 14th.

Thursday, 1 October 2015


Ornamental cherry. A few twigs and leaves.
Stand by for Tree Following!

The next link box will be on the 7th October 2015.

Join us and Follow a Tree

7th October. 7th October. 7th October. 7th October. 7th October. 7th October. 7th October.