The seasons are steadily turning beyond our doorsteps and it’s the perfect time to go on the lookout for the emerging buds, leaves and blossoms that show us that nature is ready to wake up.
On a short wander-look with a preschool group from Grosvenor there were plenty of things to look at and discover when we took the time to look around. At the end of our walk, the group threaded their collections into mobiles that we hung in the trees to welcome the Spring in. After such a busy walk we sat amongst the Ash, Willow, Sycamore and Elder to try a cup of Birch twig tea freshly cut from a tree we passed by.
Have a look out for some of these signs of Spring when you’re out and about!
The earliest flowers that appear on the trees belong to the Prunus family of plants. This group includes Almonds, Apricots, Damsons and Blackthorn but the most well known are Plum and Cherry. The flowers will grow in different groupings depending on the variety but they all have five petals and are white or pink.
Crocuses peeking through, you can almost track the coming season depending on where the flowers are open – farther up the hill where it is warmer they were already open but this crop were still waiting for a bit more sun and a rise in the temperature.
Down the pathway there was another yellow flower that is an indicator of Spring: Celandine. At first glance this may look like a buttercup (it’s part of the same family) but it continues opening to a bright 8-9 petalled flower head and with its distinctive heart-shaped leaf it is a welcome sight to many walkers
Around on the ground are young cleavers are shooting up with their stems covered in hooks and leaves encircling in sets of 5-7. Other old names include cleavers, goosegrass, catchweed, stickyweed, robin-run-the-hedge, sticky willy, stickyjack, and grip grass. Once children found out the sticky properties of these plants, they were off with mischief in their eyes!
The Dock leaves are coming on strongly with red tinged stems poking up from the ground. Some of the children knew that they could use them to help cure nettle stings, this led to a discussion as to whether they were “Dock” leaves or “Doctor” leaves!
Ramsons (my personal favourite Spring leaf) are coming up in woodland areas as well, although you may know them better as wild garlic. Their distinctive smell fills the air around this time and can also fill your dinners too! This will certainly be playing a part in our upcoming Forest School sessions.
As always – take care when you’re out looking for wild plants and always be sure of what you’re touching before you pick (or eat) what’s growing in the fields, hedgerows and woodlands. If you're not sure about what you’ve found, take a picture and have it sent to me next time you’re at your nursery, or Tweet it to me at @snap_forest.