Over the past couple of weeks I have been so busy, (just like this fella) that my blog has been devoid of regular posts. Forget the fast-paced Olympic torch relay or my relentless plugging (do apologise!) for a certain 'event' taking place at home this weekend and next, this is a catch-up of some of the simple things in life that are here to be enjoyed too.
One of the pleasures I'm looking forward to now that this 'event' (not going to mention the name) is under way, is getting out for my regular walks with mutt. Sure, I've been out with her but she has had her exercise cut short due to my activities and the locations have not been the most interesting for her. We both love those walks out in our beautiful surrounding countryside where I can enjoy the space, listen to the sounds and observe the progress of nature.
However, a little bit of very local nature has been unavoidable in that time. On my way to almost anywhere in town, I have to walk past a mass of Lime (Tilia) trees. Some may know these trees as Linden but whichever, the fact is the same for both. Late June / early July is flowering time.
The first indication of the arrival of the sticky flowers on the bracts that the lime trees produce, is the almost intoxicating aroma that wafts on the air. However, it is upon arrival under this heady canopy that it is most striking... it buzzes!
Why? The first image explains exactly why.
Those that have managed to rid their wings of excess raindrops, have made that bee-line for this seasonal Apidae picnic, just as we have determinedly shaken off our brollies this summer in an attempt to enjoy a barbecue.
The flowers have all but gone over now but there are still some other little critters that are dependent on the lime tree for its life-source.
Red protrusions from the upper surface of the leaves, denote the presence of Eriophytes tiliae or the Lime nail gall mite. Chemicals are produced by these sap-sucking mites, which cause the galls to grow throughout the summer. By Autumn, the mature mite emerges, finding a suitable crack in the bark of the tree where it overwinters, before emerging again in the Spring for the cycle to start all over again.
There is a whole world sustained by this, and indeed, by almost every tree, which so often we walk by without even a thought.
So, take a look, smell and a listen next time you are beneath one of our precious trees- you never know what you might find.