The arch is on a gentle hill at the highest point in the park. It is modelled on the Arch of Hadrian (Athens, not Rome).
Maturing cones from a couple of conifers. The first two pictures are from an example of an ornamental species in a roadside garden near Rudge Heath. The others are of one of the trees next to the West Park Conservatory.
This is the Shugborough folly closest to the big house.
It’s modelled on a building which was in Athens. Reputedly the first floor was used as a gambling den and the ground floor as a dairy – an implausible combination
Sloes developing on one of the bushes in a blackthorn hedge on one side of Baggeridge Country Park.
Some of the magnificent cacti in the West Park Conservatory, pictured during the second event where the Conservatory was opened to photographers, back at the end of June.
The fungi pictured here are sandy stiltballs (Battarraea phalloides) which is a very rare fungus in Britain.
It is not in fact a conventional “toadstool” type fungus, with gills or pores under the cap for dispersing the spores. Instead, it is related to puffballs – it is a puffball on a stem.
Its preferred habitat is sandy soil. The lighter sprinkling which can be seen on the “cap” of some of the fresher specimens is not, as I thought, sand from the soil. It is spores.
New fruiting bodies were growing with others which seemed to be several days old.
These more mature fruiting bodies had a more bleached appearance, as often with fungi.
I noticed some of these fungi while cycling down a quiet country lane in south Shropshire.
It’s only the second time sandy stiltballs have been recorded in Shropshire.
The other known site is only a few miles away from this one.
Roy Mantle, Shropshire County Recorder for Fungi, and Jefny admire one of the clumps of fruiting bodies.
Thanks to Jefny for identifying the species, and Roy Mantle for an interesting afternoon when we went to visit the site.
This species of bindweed has small, pink-edged flowers. It is common creeping along the ground in roadside grassy verges.
This hoverfly was feeding in one of the open patches on the Saltwells LNR just over a month ago.
There is something soothing about large pools of still water. The more so when, like these, they are in green oases in built-up areas. Bracebridge Pool (above) is the largest stretch of water in Sutton Park, while Swan Pool (below) is the highlight of Sandwell Valley.
A view back to the summer. This purple loosestrife was flowering beside the largest pool at the Pendeford Mill LNR on its annual open day at the end of July.
This is a medieval stone cross a long way outside the village on a road which just leads past a few isolated houses before circling back to the village. Noone really knows why it’s there. It looks more like a Cornish roadside cross than anything else.
These blackberries were showing the colours of every stage in the ripening process: from greens, through reds to the rich blue-black.