I was sitting in the shade of our mighty hornbeam reading an old New Scientist when small things started to slowly rain down on the magazine and me. It was associated with a shaking of leafy twigs and a clicking noise. Stepping to one side and looking up (for I not a fool) I saw the cause of my vegetable precipitation. A grey squirrel pulling off bunches of hornbeam seeds and nipping each seedcase open to get at the small seed within, before dropping the unwanted bits on me. It provided an opportunity to examine the seeds. Each flattened nut case is about 6 to 8mm across and 2 to 3mm deep, and set at the base of a pleasing three-pointed leaflike structure. The squirrel doesn’t get them all, there are a few which have germinated and small new hornbeams are growing – at least for a while – in various corners of the end of the garden.
Above is a selection of nibbled hornbeam seeds and one complete one for, well, completeness.
Whilst scrabbling around on the ground seeking the above specimens I found lots of opened hazel nuts, so here is evidence of further squirrel feeding. I’m glad I wasn’t sitting under the hazel tree – much heavier vegetable rain!
This warm spell has brought me into the garden a lot more, and it has brought our rose out again. I thought it had finished flowering for the year, but no. Two big blooms, and more to come if it stays mild.
You can tell its autumn by the spider webs anchored on both flowers. Finally – last month saw the fellow below turn up and walk over my leg. Looks like a fairly early stage of a cricket, but I’m not sure. Nice colour though.