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Country diary: fog and fireweed, the seeds of a ghost story

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Wenlock Edge, Shropshire Arrested in a kind of limbo, the plumes of rosebay willowherb had yet to liberate themselves and venture into the wide world

Rosebay willowherb seedpods cracked ajar like fans of white feathers. Exhausted after the carmine blaze of summer, the Chamaenerion angustifolium plants were dry, rusty and derelict. Their long thin seedpods had split into four strands, stretching open to reveal a mass of pappus – silky plumes attached to hundreds of tiny spilling seeds per pod, 80,000 or so to a plant.

It was a wonder those seeds were still there, given the shaking they must have got from Red Ophelia. But, arrested in a kind of limbo, like a photograph, they had yet to liberate themselves and venture into the wide world.

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