Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Wild flowers

I love wild flowers, always have.  Many many photos of me as a young child show me clutching a small posy of flowers - heather and harebells on the common in front of the church in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire where I was born and grew up, primroses and a few wood anemones from the copse on my uncle's farm outside Odiham, and I would pick a handful of wild daffodils every year for my mother on her birthday in April.  I knew where they grew and my father would drive me round to pick a small bunch for her.  We used to take big family picnics to the South Downs near Harting where the purple pyramid orchid was really quite common alongside all the other lovely downland flowers that grow on chalky soil, and also there was the bee orchid.  I can't imagine it is there now.  When my brother was at prep school in Sussex I loved the winter white carpets of snowdrops which grew in the woods around Alfriston where we used to go for Sunday lunch.  And probably the headiest memory of all were the bluebell woods we would go to every year, again as a big family with cousins and co., for sunny Sunday morning breakfasts in early May.  Just lounging around on rugs amongst the wonderful wild hyacinth smell and the blue stretching across acres of oak woodlands was just the biz.  

Wild flowers have been a constant in my life.  'Flower' was my first word!  These days I sense their fragility because they are under threat from a number of quarters.  Hence my delight to see some wonderful wildflower meadow planting either side of an approach road to a reasonably new estate in Haddington.  It was just a joy and I went back a few days later with my camera.
I love moon daisies, or maybe you know them as marguerites or ox eye daisy.  Like many flowers they have regional names.  They hold a lovely memory of an afternoon spent picnicking in a field of daisies, clover and sorrel when I was a Brownie.  I was a Sprite!
"Here we come the sprightly sprites, 
Brave and helpful like the knights"

There is some sorrel mixed in with all these beauties.  For a reason I can no longer remember, I used to chew on sorrel leaves when I was young and always referred to them as tomato soup! Maybe the tart taste of the leaf reminded me of Heinz Tomato soup which was my firm favourite!
There is a wonderful wild plant charity which I subscribe to on a monthly basis.  Plantlife is well worth looking up.  They do wonderful work to help us hang on to our glorious wild flowers, mosses, fungi and woodlands.  I spent last Saturday afternoon helping out on their stand at The Big Tent festival near Falkland in Fife.  I will show you photos from that event another time but just for now I would urge you to learn more about Plantlife.  Wild plants need all the supporters they can get.  I am going to volunteer to study a small area which they will allocate to me and I report on at least once a year.  It seems like a very modest contribution but every little bit helps.

I was bowling along a local road on Sunday and came to a screeching halt when I saw these.
The daisy flowers are chamomile.  How about this for a relaxing vista!
I'm just listening to Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture on the radio and of course looking at these photos.  It's a wonderful combination!  Whilst being aware of all the horrors and man-made heartbreak going on in the world, these flowers are a very necessary reminder that not everything on this planet is crazy.  That's one of the vital roles wild flowers play in our lives.  They are a reminder that there is beauty all around us.  

1 comment:

  1. I always feel a sense of relaxation after reading your blog...wild flowers are beautiful.