Saturday 18th August 2001, East Lothian
ALONGSIDE THE River Esk at Musselburgh, the seedpods of Himalayan Balsam are ready to explode, throwing the seeds several metres in every direction. A kind of coiled up vegetable spring is triggered by the slightest touch when the pod is ripe. Although it was introduced as a garden plant, and was originally kept in greenhouses, it has proved a successful invader and it now spreads along riverbanks and in damp woodland.
Growing alongside it is Japanese Knotweed, another successful invader that orignated as a garden escape. Its canes form dense stands up to the height of a man.
Lurking amongst the trees nearby is Giant Hogweed, introduced from south west Asia, which grows very much taller than a man; up to 5 metres.
In the churchyard on the hill overlooking the town, a small (1 cm long) Red-tailed Bumblebee visits the flowers of Autumn Dandelion.
This day last year