Look out for signs of spring

I was very struck by Richard Williamson’s column last week about the ‘yew smoke’ that can be seen when the yew trees send out their pollen.

Thursday, 7th March 2019, 9:08 am
Updated Thursday, 7th March 2019, 10:10 am
DM17420128a.jpg. Cherry Blossom. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170418-181615008

I wanted to ask if this year’s pollen has gone yet and whether there are more yew flowers this year than in other years observed?

I’m watching a yew tree in a garden by the railway bridge at the end of Sterling Road in Whyke, South Chichester.

The tree is covered in flowers, so much so that it appeared to be a browny yellow colour rather than its usual dark green.

After reading your column, which was several days after February 28 when you expect pollination to happen, I touched the tree where it hangs over the footpath to see if it was still waiting to ‘smoke’.

I came away with a handful of yellow pollen grains. This is probably not to be recommended, given the toxic nature of this tree to humans!

Looking out for other signs of spring, I can see that we are due for a good year of cherry blossom as the flower buds are coming along very well, and that the sycamore trees are flowering boldly too, in a vivid red.

Does this fit with your observations or is it just that I’m finally looking upward to see tree flowers?

Jenny Cole, Tree Warden for South Whyke, Hay Road, Chichester