Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Interlude … Tamarisk, Old Man’s Beard … last of the summer …

 

Walking down to the lonely sea and sky, as the last of the summer unwound – before being brutally interrupted with the almost unannounced coming of an early winter … perhaps rough autumn would be a better description of the much needed torrents of rain and hail we had here …


Old Man's Beard

 … the hedgerows bubbled over with Old Man’s Beard and waving crusted salt cedar heather-coloured Tamarisk fronds …


 … gorgeous sight to the eyes framing the English Channel, with its rocky shore guarded by pebble embedded groynes …

 

Tamarisk fronds


I’ve been reading about Linnaeus … the great naturalist and taxonomer (Carl Linnaeus (1707-78), who invented the system of giving all living organisms two Latin names.

 


It was he who gave Tamarix Gallica, the French Tamarisk, its botanical classification in 1753, while it had been in cultivation since 1596.

 

Gaz Nougat from Isfahan, Iran

How do they know: I guess recorded as such … though, to me, of more surprise is that its juice is an ingredient for Gaz – a Persian nougat delicacy from Isfahan, central Iran.  (White nougat is delicious … )

 

Old Man’s Beard … what a name … for our only native clematis (Clematis vitalba), which in folk lore is also known as the baccy plant – not something I’d heard of before …

 

Looking down towards the seashore

… I spotted this (to me) anomaly when I read an article by one of our broadcasters, Monty Don, … known as ‘the nation’s gardener’ … he’d learnt as a kid from ‘an old boy’, a farm labourer, that Old Man’s Beard stems could be smoked, after they were peeled, showing the confined woody tubes, which could then be lit …

  

… bliss … the two kids could loaf with a smoke  under a hedge mulling over their future … before they became old enough for a proper ‘straight’ – as cigarettes were called.

 

Cuban cigar - showing rolls
It seems that once technology in the 1880s caught up … affording a packet of cigarettes led to smokers rejecting roll-ups.  Over the next 100 years we know what happened … yet in War needs must and at times the poor resorted to finding other ways to have a smoke.


I’m using this ‘interlude’ to post some photos before the ‘rough autumn’ really sets in … and to see if I can control Blogger – at least enough to not cause me any more ill-dressed posts … which I do not like!

 

Virginia Creeper turning - early September


As you might expect I couldn’t but help but add a few anecdotes in to the post … my mother, who would have been 100 in a couple of weeks, told me about this plant as we drove my grandmother around the lanes of Cornwall in the early 1970s …

 

… the other garden plant names I mainly remember by that osmosis of youth – growing up … but Old Man’s Beard (or Traveller’s Joy, as it was also known) has always stuck in my memory – as my Ma’s hedgerow plant.

 

One of the many paths going
down towards the sea
 

Here’s to a positive ending to this post … we shall see … as long as I centralise the photos 'we're' ok ... for today that will do ... the next one will be the last of my London visits - to the Tutankhamun exhibition: it was wonderful!

 

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


38 comments:

Mike Goad said...

I'm hoping you and we don't have a "rough autumn." We've had a cooler than normal summer... that trend continuing into autumn and then winter wouldn't be so good. I hope that the tribulations with Blogger settle out soon. I know that a lot of people have been having issues with it. I tried it when I first started blogging way back in the early 2000s... didn't like it then so found a different way. Best Wishes!

bazza said...

Hi Hilary: I'm a big fan of Monty Don. The BBC seem to find so many brilliant broadcasters and stick with them forever. I'm thinking of David Attenborough, Patrick Moore, Percy Thrower etc. And now Monty Don, Chris Packham and Fiona Bruce!
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s neatly nonchalant Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Yolanda Renée said...

The autumn colors up north, I hear, are amazing. Looks like it's going to be a cold winter. We walked out this morning and the chill was very noticeable. Need to get my sweaters out. Memories of your walking with your Mom, so sweet, especially all the colorful names for the plants!

Happy October!

Elephant's Child said...

I do hope that autumn gentles down. Rain you needed, but not the hail.
I hope that winter is not as harsh as she can be too.
Thank you (hugely) for another ecletic wander with you.

Anabel Marsh said...

It has got very cold here too, not looking forward to winter!

Liz A. said...

"Rough autumn", eh? I hope that's a euphemism, but in a good way.

Jz said...

OK, I might have blinked briefly at the shift from tamarisk to Linnaeus to yummy nougat but I thought, "No, Hilary will pull this all together..." and you did!
And now I'm hungry...

Botanist said...

Looks like you've managed to tame Blogger, Hilary, but they don't make it easy. The "new" interface is a nightmare to deal with :(

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Even as 'geek', I am having issues taming the Blogger changes! I hate that I cannot now slide my images to where I want them. It's part of the control needed to keep things looking good on all devices - particularly telephones that folk insist on keeping in pockets and bags...

A delightful post and I immediately dropped back to childhood and walking to school on the first term of a new year as the autumn bit in and brushing the Old Man's Beard on the hedges as we passed... YAM xx

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Mike – me too … at least I’m on the south coast, so I live in hope it’ll be ‘reasonable’ … our summer I think has been really good – not helpful for self-isolating. I’ll have to play with Blogger – but I’d rather be doing something constructive than fiddling around, because of a change … such is life, I guess! I tried WP couldn’t get to grips with it, then had help with Blogger – and I stuck there! Hope I can find ways to make it easier for myself …

@ Bazza – yes he’s a great guy isn’t he … and the Beeb do have some amazing broadcasters … you’ve mentioned a few … we can learn a great deal from them.

@ Yolanda Renee – someone mentioned your Fall colours are going to be amazing … I just hope we don’t have that very cold winter … still I’ve experienced a few in my time – not happy with them! Yes … the memories of days gone by and wandering the Cornish lanes with my mother and grandmother; those folklore names always delight – yet Linnaeus gives us a way of remembering the plants within their species … sometimes the folklore ones ‘stick’ … Happy October – as you say …

@ EC – I hope Autumn gentles down … we’re now in for a wet, windy weekend – too early for that! Yes … it was an eclectic wander but I had fun with the memories …

@ Anabel – yes I guess you’re considerably colder than I am down here … I’m not looking forward to winter either …

@ Liz – it seemed like a good phrase and was meant in an easy way … not too bad.

@ Jz – a few shifts along the way – my mind does wander a lot … but I’m glad I pulled it together for you … I too love nougat – proper nougat is a real treat …

@ Ian – well it’s ok if one is happy with central photos – which I’m not … I’ll have another go – before I do the Tut post … I see Yam has noted the reason for the change below …

@ Yam – oh dear … if you’re having hassles with Blogger I’m in for a ‘rough ride’ … keep trying I guess – like you not being able to put my photos where I want is frustrating. Thanks for the update as to the reason why the change has been made … yes, pooh-hoo to phones in pockets and constantly on the go.

Oh good … I’m glad the post ‘sent’ you back in time … we used the bus to get to school as it was too far … but being out in the lanes is just special … even today decades on …

Thanks so much for coming by and commenting on this eclectic post … it’s really good to see you all … life continues … all the best - Hilary

Keith's Ramblings said...

Seeing your well-positioned picture of Virginia Creeper took me back to the pub I ran in Vines Cross which was completely covered by it on one side. Glossy in Summer and gaudy in autumn it was a joy to behold! By the way, if you think Blogger's got complicated you should see what they've done at WordPress! Every new post now takes me ages to set up.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Gee, Hilary, when I saw Old Man's Beard in the title I thought you had decided to blog about me! I will have to keep an eye out for the book on Linnaeus; I am sure it would make fascinating reading, and the binomial system he invented and codified remains in use to this day. Remarkable! It is part of my daily life, yet I hardly give a passing thought to its origins - and I should! Hope you are victorious in your battle with the new blogger - by common consensus it appears not to be "new and improved" as the advertising slogans always say!

Elsie Amata said...

I'm sorry to hear about the rain and the hail. I hope the weather settles down soon! Nothing like the cooler weather coming in with such a blast! I always wondered what made someone smoke something. We're funny creatures, aren't we? Best of luck with Blogger! Have a great weekend!

Warmly,
Elsie

Joanne said...

You've tackled and succeeded in this blog - all centered and awesome. You are my go to source for interesting names and history. Cooler here - October is my fave month and it's looking great for the next ten days. Enjoy!

Dan said...

We do battle with Virginia Creeper every year as it winds through our bushes. It's truly amazing how it grows. I never thought much about plant names, but I guess if they become an ingredient, it would be good to know you're starting with the right plant. That picture of the Nougat is bringing back memories of my grandmother and making me hungry. Thanks for a delightful post, Hilary. It looks like you took care of Blogger - no small feat.

Lisa said...

Oh, lovely post to look at as well as read. I haven't heard yet here (haven't looked either!) what our autumn and winter are supposed to be like... Hope they aren't too bad. Had a "blustery" day yesterday!

Lynda Dietz said...

I'm sorry you're having trouble with Blogger's new setup, but I still think your posts are terrific! And seeing the gaz photo caused me to immediately look up the recipe . . . I may have to try that, since I love pistachios.

I've heard people complaining about WordPress's upgrades as well, so it makes me glad that SquareSpace is simple, with drag & drop blocks. Playing with blocks is about the level of IT I can handle.

retirementreflections said...

I'm hoping that your Rough Autumn does not come to visit us soon. We've had warm and sunny days this past week. Fingers crossed it lasts for at least a little while longer.
Love Old Man's Beard. I continue to learn so much from your posts. Thank you!

Jacqui Murray said...

I've thought about Linneaus more than I should, with his classification system. I like it but doesn't it seem dated? Shouldn't we classify now based on DNA rather than what the eye beholds? Hmm...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Keith – thank you re the Virginia creeper photo – I’m irritated with the positioning … I wanted it to the edge of that paragraph – not central … frustrating. I agree – even though I see it’s a non-threatening invasive plant … not good to have – but so pretty, as you say glossy in summer, gaudy in autumn.

Oh gosh – I know WP has its challenges too – I just need to tame Blogger!

@ David – oh dear … I guess I could have done – but of course I’d never do that … much too much of a British miss to say something like that! Your beard looks great on you …

You’d love Linnaeus’ book … it is absolutely riveting and well written – I’ve been very impressed with it … and opened my eyes to that era. Wonderful descriptions in it … as too quotes from other writers and scientists of his time … I want to quote them …

As Yam says above … it’s because the blog needs to appear on all devices … and thus be controlled to appear looking good – not if I can’t set it out the way I want it to look – but I’ll persevere.

@ Elsie – we’re having a cold patch and another wet and windy one coming up … it’s autumn … so I guess I mustn’t complain. Do you think people started smoking because it was an accepted thing to do … indigenous people smoked, and thus we would have tried it … and continue to do so – not realising the implications. I’m glad I never took it up – that’s for sure.

@ Joanne – well it’s all centred – which I don’t like … I like the pictures to be placed left or right with the appropriate picture next to it – then the eyes follow the paragraphs/ images down the page.

Many thanks … I really appreciate that you ‘go to my blog’ for interesting snippets of life, or names et al … lucky you with the weather – we are in for wet and windy weekend … ah well we do need the rain down here.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Dan – Virginia Creeper is native to America … whereas our is on the ‘not wanted’ list – but not actually condemned, though they ask us to make sure we don’t leave cuttings etc around – that I didn’t know.

Tamarisk must have come from the folklore of Persia – where the herbalists would have tried all species for new tastes and flavours … the salt being added to the sugary nougar.

I’m pleased I brought back memories for you of your grandmother … presumably she made nougat?

I know I failed with what I wanted to do with blogger … get my photos to go left or right next to an appropriate paragraph … but I’ll keep trying.

@ Lisa – as you’ve started your garden … you’ll appreciate these nearly wild varieties … good for cascading, or waving – but not in the garden! …. Carry on enjoying late summer, I say … it’s really not that nice here – but … weather is weather …

@ Lynda – thank you … very appreciative … just wish they looked ok to me – still I’ll try and master.

Gosh I looked through how to make it … I’ve never been good with sugar-cooking … but the Aussie youtube I looked at was relatively easy … as you say pistachios are always good to eat.

I gather WP and Blogger are both providing their users difficulties – when I started these were the two that were suggested … so I started that way – and I’m not that technical … so even Square Spaces’ blocks might have defeated me … still so far in with Blogger (over 1,000 posts) I really can’t move …

@ Donna – your weather usually matches ours … but at the moment we are definitely in the cold, wet belt – so pleased you’re still able to get out and about on the Island – it can get pretty depressing in winter on the Island … well I thought so … but I was out of my depth a little …

Great that you enjoyed seeing Old Man’s Beard …

@ Jacqui – this book is totally fascinating … and so well written – I’m really enjoying it. So often with the older books/ ideas there’s often so much in them … giving value to the historical data – whereas now it’s too modern, the context isn’t there.

Looking at the DNA suggestion … we cannot see that – but we can see a flower and thus its name gives us a link to its history … eg Rudbeckia … interestingly your ‘black-eyed susan’ was named by Linnaeus – who honoured his patron and fellow botanist at Uppsala University, Olaf Rudbeck the Younger and the elder, by dedicating the plant to them. I don’t think we’d recognise the bright yellow petalled coneflower from its DNA …

Take care all of you … and thanks so much for your interest … Hilary

Sandra Cox said...

Beautifully written, Hil. Loved the first three paragraphs.

Rhodesia said...

Interesting and informative post. There is a lot of Old Man's Beard around here. I have been too busy to do any walking, and now things are quieter it is raining all the time! I am sure though I would only have to walk down the road to find some. Hopefully, I will get out again very soon.

Keep safe and look after yourself, Diane

Deborah Weber said...

Old Man's Beard or Traveller's Joy - I'm not sure which name I prefer, but the plant is lovely. I laughed at the smoking sticks reference - kids will be kids won't they? Here's hoping your autumn tames and there are plenty of delightful adventures in store for you.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Great photos and suuch an interesting read

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandra ... thank you it was fun combining these two plants with the various snippets of life ... remembering the peaceful sea shore ...

@ Diane - I'm sure you've been ultra busy in the garden with your harvesting ... it must be so satisfying. Yes suddenly we've had lots of rain here ... and today it's a wee blustery. Once you can get out - enjoy the countryside ...

@ Deborah - both wonderful names aren't they ... and thanks for laughing at the smoking sticks ... as you say kids will be kids. At the moment it's blustery and damp with a wet weekend ahead ... but it's all good to have a change.

@ Jo-Anne - many thanks ...

Take care all of you - and enjoy the weekend ahead ... Hilary

Inger said...

I love the word hedgerow, I immediately picture the English countryside in my mind. I just had a thought: Your posts are like a hop,skip, and a jump that always lands on yet another wonderful thought, experience,or something gained from literature. Just fabulous.

My mom came to visit me in Los Angeles, back in the late 1970s and we saw the King Tut exhibit together at the Los Angeles County Museum. Such a good memory.

Susan Scott said...

Lovely post Hilary thank you .. I'll check it out again as for now I've sped read it. I enjoy the comments too so I need a bit more time. But just to say the weather is very peculiar here, thunder, lightning, very high winds, driving rain - it's supposed to be Spring, and it's like Winter.

Susan Kane said...

Those flowers are unknown to me, living here in S. California. But I wish they were here.

I'd take autumn of any sort! Esp. with rain!

DMS said...

Rain is a favorite sound of mine and right now we so need some here. I am sorry to hear about the hail you had-it can do a lot of damage! Autumn is all around me as each day the leaves change their color a little more. I love the name Old Man's Beard. :) Enjoy and hope you have a lovely week.
~Jess

Deniz Bevan said...

Love the opening of your post, so poetic!
Linnaeus must be a fascinating study. Such an exciting task to devote one's life to.
Oh! The Tutankhamun exhibit must be the one that's on in Zurich right now! Maybe I should make an effort to go...

Sherry Ellis said...

Old Man's Beard is an appropriate name for that plant!

Denise Covey said...

So interesting Hilary. Love Monty Don. Have watched his Italian and French gardens series. Wonderful. Tutankhamun was in London when I took my first trip there! Fascinating for sure!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I signed up but I'm still not getting notified when you blog. My poor ole MacBook tries. It's wonderful that you're in BC, Hilary. Hope your safe. I see on the news that the numbers are going up every day. I missed the news on why you're in BC. Have you moved? Or are you stuck there?

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

My mistake. I see you're back in England. Same weather as Vancouver though. Stay safe, Hilary. Love your posts.

cleemckenzie said...

Scientists who set up effective identification systems are invaluable. Of course, your mom's hedgerow, is perfectly fine too. You know exactly the plant you're referring to.

Erica/Erika said...

Hi Hilary, It is always fun and fascinating for me to see your neck of the woods. Your post reminds me how I am in the middle of a book, “Walk in the woods” by Bill Bryson. He also brings up the important and tedious work of the naturalist many years ago. I have not had nougat in a long time. I will have to find some, soon. Your post looks great! Very easy to read and the photos look great in your layout.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Inger – yes, I have to say hedgerows are excellent boundaries … one sees so many plants, insects, birds and mammals happily living in them. Delighted you think the posts string themselves together … I always slightly worry, but know you recognise the English countryside and ways as you’ve lived here …
Wonderful I’ve reminded you of your mother and her visit to see you in LA back in the late 1970s … when you also saw an earlier Tut exhibition …

@ Susan – thank you … an easy write up. I’m always grateful for everyone’s comments, which so often add to the post. Gosh your weather sounds really strange – yes October is usually hot and stifling … but over my life-time the weather has changed here and in South Africa …

@ Susan – we need bushes and creepers that survive our temperate climate … but they’re pretty as we walk down to the promenade and sea. I must say a cooler climate is easier – we’ve had a hot summer – which hasn’t been much good in a pandemic lock-down world.

@ Jess – yes at times rain can be bliss – that earthy smell is wonderful. Thankfully we didn’t have much hail … but it can be really dangerous and smash much to pieces. Autumn is definitely here … and Old Man’s Beard is a great name isn’t it …

@ Deniz – thank you … I suspect memories of Masefield might have come through. Excellent you’re thinking of reading Linnaeus after I sent you my review for a group I’m part of. Also I gather you’re looking at going to the Tut exhibition on in Zurich – hope you get there …

@ Sherry – I’ve always loved seeing Old Man’s Beard and it’s spread all along the walkways along the seafront …

@ Denise – yes Monty Don is special isn’t he … I may have watched one or two episodes of his garden series … but I’m sure at some stage in the future I’ll take time out and look at them – I saw his American ventures recently. Tutankhamun was also on at the O2 in 2007 – but that was the year my Ma became terminally ill … so any visiting was scuppered.

@ Joylene – Oh sorry Joylene – though I did see you’ve commented on my next post … I hope it works. Oh yes you worked out I got back here … so am staying put now … but I did love having the opportunity of seeing BC – though not the reason I was there for: such is life.

@ Lee – that Linnaeus book is just amazing … my Ma was a great gardener and very knowledgeable … we’d always natter about trees, plants, shrubs etc as we walked or drove around.

@ Erica – thank you … there’s lots to see around here – but covid has slightly dampened things down. I’ve never got into Bill Bryson – why I don’t know … I must give him a go again sometime.

Proper nougat is delicious … Christmas is a-coming – perhaps we can find some for then?

Thanks so much for visiting – it’s taken me ages to get the next post up … but am always grateful for your comments and thoughts – all the best Hilary