April Brights: Male Catkins

Male pussy willow: catkin with yellow pollen
Male trees produce yellow pollen

When I happened upon Salix branches strung with yellow catkins, they made me think that bright is relative: on a dull late afternoon, they seemed like tiny candles.

I believe these are either Goat willow (Salix caprea) or Grey willow (Salix cinerea). It’s not easy to tell them apart at this stage while the stems are bare of leaves. Goat willows have broad, round leaves with bent, pointed tips; Grey willows have oval leaves with blunt ends. Continue reading “April Brights: Male Catkins”

Garden Creatures, Mississippi Style

Artwork of possum and flowers in Jackson MS

2020 was a year we’ll remember for the worst reasons, but there were a few highlights. I learned, for example, what this was.

The artwork was covering a window or gap in an alley in Jackson, MS. I immediately took a shine to it because of the fierce creature’s eyes, the flowers and the (almost) heart shaped nose. But I had no idea what it was – it could have been imaginary for all I knew. We don’t have opossums in England. The nearest I could think of was an alternative badger with a tail and a decidedly uppity expression. Continue reading “Garden Creatures, Mississippi Style”