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Ray T

Britain's canals are blooming lovely

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CRT Press Release.

13 May 2019  

 

BRITAIN’S CANALS ARE BLOOMING LOVELY

 

Take a stroll along a towpath on a summer’s day and your head and heart will be soothed by the tranquillity of the environment, and the profusion of flowers that blossom along these watery corridors. 

 

This Summer, in a celebration of blooms by the water, waterway and wellbeing charity the Canal & River Trust is encouraging people to come and relax amongst the blooming boats, hedgerows, and gardens along their local canal or river, get involved in some community gardening, or simply spread the love by sharing photos of blooms by the water.

 

Canal and garden lovers also have the chance to get inspired at two of the biggest gardening events of the year, as both Chelsea Flower Show (21-25 May) and Gardeners’ World Live (13-16 June) have canal-themed gardens.

 

Matthew Symonds, relationship, policy and strategy manager at Canal & River Trust, said: “Walk along any towpath and you’ll come across a boat or a garden that lifts your spirits with its beautiful blooms.  We want more people to feel the benefits of being by the water, and summer is the perfect time to see the waterways bursting with colour and life. 

 

“Plants don’t just look pretty – flowers provide food for bees and butterflies, fruit trees feed animals and people alike, while tended spaces fend off weeds.  Gardening can also make a tremendous difference to forgotten spaces, transforming unloved areas into somewhere special to come and sit for a while.  There are some fantastic community gardens strung out along the canals, breathing life into city centres, and providing a place where local people can make a real difference to both the waterways and their own wellbeing.

 

“This summer we’d love people to come along and discover the secret – and not-so secret – gardens of the towpaths, admire the floating floral displays found on so many boats, and let other people know about the blooming brilliant towpaths by joining in and sharing photos celebrating blooms by the water.”

 

People can share their photos at canalrivertrust.org.uk/bloomsbythewater, the Canal & River Trust Facebook page, or by using #bloomsbywater on Twitter.

 

Read more about all the ways the waterways are blooming this summer here:  canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/canal-and-river-wildlife/waterways-in-bloom

 

For more information on the work of the Canal  & River Trust including how you can donate money or volunteer your time to support the work we do visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk

 

-ends-

 

 

For further media requests please contact:

Fran Read, Canal & River Trust

m 07796 610 427 e fran.read@canalrivertrust.org.uk

 

 

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Walking canal towpaths, be they in use or disused waterways, provides contact with many ecological aspects. Details of flora and fauna has been topics for inclusion in the earliest canal guides. Yet how many look at the history of why certain plants are there is another matter. When the canals were first made it was common to set the "quick" as a fast growing hedge that provided a living fence between the canal and the fields. There are places along the waterway where elements of the QUICK survive, indication that such plants are long lived species 

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Continuing this subject

 

For those who follow canal history, the matter of setting the "Quick" provided an important fence along the towpath side that separated the fields from the path. These plants were often Whitethorn, or Hawthorn, a species whose latin name has varied over time, but in days of the canals it was Crataegus Oxycantha.

 

A certain skill was needed to plant and maintain the hedge, as weeds could do damage, if allowed to grow during the early times of planting. Also plants of 3 years of age were preferred to those younger. There must have been an industry in growing quick, as it was a popular choices for fencing for both canals and early railways. In some parts of the country dry stone walling was an option.

 

 

 

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36 minutes ago, Heartland said:

Continuing this subject

 

For those who follow canal history, the matter of setting the "Quick" provided an important fence along the towpath side that separated the fields from the path. These plants were often Whitethorn, or Hawthorn, a species whose latin name has varied over time, but in days of the canals it was Crataegus Oxycantha.

 

A certain skill was needed to plant and maintain the hedge, as weeds could do damage, if allowed to grow during the early times of planting. Also plants of 3 years of age were preferred to those younger. There must have been an industry in growing quick, as it was a popular choices for fencing for both canals and early railways. In some parts of the country dry stone walling was an option.

 

 

 

I seem to remember learning that C Oxycantha is the Midland hawthorn with the red flowers, C Monogyna the white flowered May. Not sure which was most commonly planted by Canal companies though.

  • Greenie 1

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On 13/05/2019 at 11:29, Ray T said:

BRITAIN’S CANALS ARE BLOOMING LOVELY

I suppose, despite the seeming irony of releasing it whilst we're up to our ears in mud on the towpath, this is a timely reminder that better days lie ahead! :)

 

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2 hours ago, Sea Dog said:

I suppose, despite the seeming irony of releasing it whilst we're up to our ears in mud on the towpath, this is a timely reminder that better days lie ahead! :)

 

Today the sun set one minute later than yesterday (and for a change we actually saw it set rather than guessing where it might be behind the rain clouds). Tomorrow it will set another minute later. It's not much progress, but it's a start.

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On 13/05/2019 at 11:29, Ray T said:

wellbeing charity the Canal & River Trust is encouraging people to come and relax amongst the blooming boats

 

Maybe the tin-foil-hat brigade have a point! :D 

 

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3 hours ago, Athy said:

Today the sun set one minute later than yesterday (and for a change we actually saw it set rather than guessing where it might be behind the rain clouds). Tomorrow it will set another minute later. It's not much progress, but it's a start.

Bet you a tenner it didn't.

 

In fact I'll specifically bet you it rose earlier, so the day is slightly longer.

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15 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

Bet you a tenner it didn't.

 

In fact I'll specifically bet you it rose earlier, so the day is slightly longer.

Interesting.

 

According to https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/uk

 

it rose (for Carlisle anyway) at 8:34 yesterday and today.   Set at 3:45 yesterday and 3:46 today.

 

However it has it rising at 8:35 24th 25th & 26th then 8:36 through to the end of the month.  By the end of the month the sunset is 3:53

 

Maybe hope he doesn't take you up on the bet.

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7 hours ago, Heartland said:

Continuing this subject

 

For those who follow canal history, the matter of setting the "Quick" provided an important fence along the towpath side that separated the fields from the path. These plants were often Whitethorn, or Hawthorn, a species whose latin name has varied over time, but in days of the canals it was Crataegus Oxycantha.

 

A certain skill was needed to plant and maintain the hedge, as weeds could do damage, if allowed to grow during the early times of planting. Also plants of 3 years of age were preferred to those younger. There must have been an industry in growing quick, as it was a popular choices for fencing for both canals and early railways. In some parts of the country dry stone walling was an option.

 

 

 

C. Oxyacanta was a broad term used to describe the various types if hawthorn, it has been superseded by more specific names for the various types, botanists love doing this sort of thing but tbh in this case make perfect sense.

 

Thorn is a relatively short lived small tree, its life span is often extended by the practice if laying, plus natural regeneration in a hedge can give the impression of a long lived tree

 

Never heard whitethorn before but it's basically the white form of hawthorn

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crataegus_oxyacantha

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crataegus

 

The use of quick or thorn hedges was common at this time and not exclusively a canal thing, the management and establishment of hedges would have been common practice at the time.

 

The planting if 3 yr old whips is common practice even now, smaller plants establish better, frankly it would be better to sow seeds directly but that would make management difficult so 3yr whips are a good compromise 

6 hours ago, Stilllearning said:

I seem to remember learning that C Oxycantha is the Midland hawthorn with the red flowers, C Monogyna the white flowered May. Not sure which was most commonly planted by Canal companies though.

I imagine they planted whatever was available locally 

Edited by tree monkey

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