My Favourite Window

September 7, 2011


The willows are bee-loud these days, their catkins thrusting out from amongst the new leaves, while honey bees busy.

But hazel catkins have been hanging around since before midwinter.  They featured in my recent snowy header photo, but I also captured them singing to the sun one bright July day.

Alder catkins display a little later than the hazel catkins,
those below, adorning trees planted along a drainage swale in a recent Halswell housing development. 

I'd forgotten to look for the Garrya catkins this year, but Jackie reminded me about them, and deep inside an overgrown scramble, I found these soft grey tassles.

Willow and garrya are both dioecious plants.  That means that they bear male and female flowers on seperate plants.  Hazel and Alder are monoecious; they have male and female parts on the same plant but as seperate flowers. Most of the garden plants that we are familiar with have both male and female parts in the one place - the common idea of a flower.

But what of those feline catkins?  One, a little stray is happy to bask on the bank, but Aelfwise, my curious Manx, is always interested in the water that appears in our ephemeral stream, tapping its leading edge as it fills and glides down the empty bed, or paddling and even sitting in the welling pond...

And when he has had enough, he shakes his paws and bounds up the steps for a nice lie down on my bed!

Alder  Alnus glutinosa
Garrya, silk-tassel bush  Garrya elliptica
Hazel  Corylus avellana
Weeping willow Salix babylonica


Kelloggsville said...

Where does the term catkin come from? I didn't know it was used for plants other than willow.

Jeneane said...

Botany and Language: two of my favourite things :-) But I still had to look it up. I must confess I had a peek in Wikipedia, which describes the botany of catkins - and yes they do occur on many different trees - but I enjoy handling real books, so this etymology is from my Collins English Dictionary. It is an obsolete 16th Century word from the Dutch word katteken. That means kitten along with the French chaton and German Katzchen. Aelfy isn't one year old yet: I think he still qualifies as a catkin. Oh, I learnt another word out of this exercise - ament. I'll leave that to you to research.

Steve said...

After a stressful day your post has made me feel nice and chilled... thank you. Am purring very contentedly.

Owen said...

And your feline catkins, if they lie down to go to sleep for a little while, do they then become for that time... napkins ?

Reminds me of a question someone asked the other day :

If a piglet is a small pig, does that mean a hamlet is a small ham ?

Oh, and so nice to see someone going back and actually looking at some of the ancient history on the magic lantern... glad you liked the catlets there... ;-)

Jeneane said...

Steve, I'm glad my Secret Garden has a soothing effect on you. I'm not surprised you need a bit of purr-time the way you carry on!!

Owen, I like the napkins; and finding someone else to play word games with. How long I wonder will it take me to catch up with the here and now of your Magic Lantern Show?