Saturday, 2 June 2012

Wildflowers again

Taking a break from the articles for a wee while, and back to the wildflowers...

Thinking about my ignorance of all things wildflower, I realised that during my childhood there weren't really any. They certainly weren't common, because fields and grass verges were heavily sprayed with pesticides and weed killers. Local councils made sure roadsides were neatly manicured and green, and fields were carefully maintained so weeds and wildflowers wouldn't compete with the crops.

As I got older, I remember a big fuss being made about the decline of wildflowers and practices changed, and the wildflowers came back. I remember noticing poppies growing along the roadsides as I got older; plants like cow parsley began spreading along the edges of the fields at the bottom of the garden (I grew up in a semi-rural village; I could go through a gap in the hedge at the bottom of my garden and walk through miles and miles of fields). So I suppose it's not surprising that I don't know much about wildflowers, and it makes me think how lucky my kids are, that their world is a much more colourful one than I grew up in. They're growing up in a more rural, isolated area than I did.

The weather has stayed quite warm and sunny - slightly cloudier and windier now, but the cool breeze offers some welcome relief from the heat. The other day I took Rosie and the dogs out to the woods we went to a couple of weeks back, to see the bluebells. There are still some bluebells around but they're well past their best now. A lot of the bluebell carpets are being crowded out by the bracken, which are still busy unfurling:

While elsewhere the woodland floor is being taken over by a sea of pinks and yellows. Mostly red campion:

Mixed in with different kinds of buttercups and yellow pimpernels:

Around the edges of the woods are a few white campions:

Pink purslane:

And some beautiful, deep purple columbines:

Near the woods there's a meadow that's prone to getting a bit boggy when it rains. There's a goal post at one end of the meadow (which happens to be right near our back fence) and a lot of the locals complain that the meadow itself isn't maintained properly. The ground is too soft for football practice so I don't see the point in the grass being regularly cut, anyway, and if it was then these would get mown up:

A kind of marsh orchid, although I'm not sure which. They're quite tiny, but beautiful, though. There are also some tiny, tiny blue flowers, which were too small for me to get a photo of with the lens I have for my camera, but I think they're forget-me-nots. There are also cuckoo flowers lurking close the edge of the meadow:

And I think these are bugles:

The hawthorns are in full bloom now as well:

As are the rhododendrons, which have turned the hills behind us purple:

It's amazing what you find when you look for it.