My father was a clever man. Unfortunately he was born in the late nineteenth century when, apart from the few rich people in every village, the majority of villagers were poor. At eleven years old he passed what was then called "the scholarship". but his parents were just too poor to be able to afford his school uniform - also they could not afford him to stay at school until he was sixteen - a prerequisite of going to Grammar School. He was never bitter about the situation and he was always one for improving his knowledge throughout his life - he loved poetry and knew many poems off by heart and he loved all natural history - we spent hours together bird watching, looking for nests, spotting wild flowers etc. And - above all he absolutely loved learning - and flaunting - their Latin names. A bit of that has rubbed off on me; I am more likely to know the botanical name for a garden flower than I am to know its colloquial name.
So it will therefore come as no surprise, after reading this paragraph, that Tess and I have been out today spotting Lichenes and Bryophyta!
Yet another grey day here, although relatively warm after the recent cold spell. Tess and I set out on our afternoon walk and I took my camera. When the farmer enquired what I hoped to photograph on such a grey day, I said I was just going to look for anything green - anything at all.
It was easier said than done - everywhere was brown, wet, soggy and dirty. That is until we spotted some bare branches absolutely covered in green - brightest green imaginable. I have no idea whether this is lichenes (lichen) or Bryophyta (moss) but I have no doubt someone reading my blog today will be able to enlighten me. Whichever it is, I am sure you will agree that close up these little plants are exquisite. I suspect they are lichen because although they look so soft and velvety, they are actually rather hard and coarse to the touch. (the same is true of those lovely gambolling lambs one sees in the fields - they look so cuddly but if you get to pick on up you will find they feel a bit like a pan-scraper).
Later on the walk - by this time accompanied by the farm cat - we came through our walled front garden and saw that the moss on top of the wall was really flourishing, and the lichen on the garden wall was leaving large whorls of the most beautiful pale grey.
Well, I photographed them all and I hope you enjoy seeing them - certain proof that all is not dead in this winter season, that as well as all those plants stirring under the soil and popping up little shoots, the lichenes and the bryophyta and playing their part in adding a little colour to February.