Autumn in July??

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Many would be forgiven for identifying the season depicted in the above photograph, showing leaf litter collecting on part of the old Wombourne Railway Station platform, as Autumn. Not so.

The prolonged period of dry, hot weather has had a severe effect on some of the younger trees growing along the Railway Walk. Unlike the older and taller trees, which have much longer roots that reach further underground to more moist earth, the younger trees are forced to shed some leaves in order to reduce their overall demand for water.

If you know of a tree near to you that is shedding leaves at the moment, and you are able to spare some of your waste vegetable water (not water containing detergents), then please give them some much-needed water.

Doubly Deadly

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Nettles provide a pretty unpleasant sting should you accidentally brush a bare arm or leg against them-when you quickly experience discomfort and considerable irritation-which in turn makes you want to scratch and rub the affected part of your skin.

As mentioned in this blog in previous years, the �__traditional�__ remedy for a nettle sting is to rub the affected area with a dock leaf. These are large, broad-leafed plants that often grow close to a group of nettles.

This particular nettle stood out due to its �__cloaking�__ in a spider�__s web. Butterfly and moth larvae often feed on nettles, but smaller flying insects would quickly become ensnared in this deadly decoration, and provide the next meal for a hungry spider!

Poppies

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Memories of the recent commemoration of the World War I Battle of the Somme were rekindled recently one sunny morning walk last week, along the rising path that leads away from the Brook and on to the Railway Walk. The vivid red flowers belonging to a cluster of poppies were strikingly evident against a backdrop of greens, yellows and browns. (See photo above).

Many of us associate poppies with the red paper ones traditionally worn by many of us here in the United Kingdom as an act of remembrance, to commemorate those who died originally in the Great War, or World War I. Remembrance Day is November the 11th, when at the 11th hour, in 1918, the guns of war fell silent. Since then, all subsequent wars and conflicts are recalled on Remembrance Day.

The deliberate policy to leave a triangular section of ground between the northern bank of the Brook and the Railway Walk has permitted the return of a number of wild flowers that would normally not reach maturity, due to the regular grass-cutting schedule. This forward-thinking policy has enabled small eco-systems to re-establish during the warmer months of the year, resulting in an increase and in some cases a welcome return for some species of flora and fauna.