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These are now popping up in the fields around and about. I have a thing for poppies of al kinds, but I do love the bright red against the greenery. Their tissue-thin crinkled petals catch and hold the light so beautifully, and change so as the light does.
After 3 years since I built my small garden pond and planted this Yellow Flag Iris Iris pseudacorus it has flowered for the very first time to my joy. This is the first bloom, and it looks like there are many more to come.
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This has to be one of my very favourite spring wild flowers. Believe it or not, I had never set eyes on a Lesser Celandine until I moved here just over 25 years ago where I discovered it growing on the margins of my local wood. Each and every year I see them they always give a spring to my heart, pumping it with pure joy and wonder at how very beautiful and amazing the natural world is around us.
This beautiful little plant is probably the bane of most gardeners. It goes by the guise of many common name including Hairy Bittercress, Spring Cress and Hoary Bittercress, but its Latin name is Cardamine hirsuta. It is a plant belonging to the mustard family Brassicaceae.
It flowers for most of the year and is particularly abundant, found growing on all types of bare ground, including in the cracks of walls, paving, roof tiles, in woodland and along the banks of streams. The delicate white flowers of 4 petals will only open in bright weather.
The leaves form a tight rosette of 2 to 6 pairs of rounded leaflets with a larger terminal leaf. The leaves have a peppery taste to them and smell like Cress.
The long and slender seedpods (see image above), when ripe enough will explode, jettisoning the seeds to new ground.
The plant grows no taller than 30 centimetres (12in).
This was quite an exciting find for me. I have never seen this in the local fields before. The bright splash of pink caught my eye, and in seconds I was kneeling in tall grass. One cannot help but be captivated and fall in love by the pure beauty and delicacy of its full and feathery pink blooms.
You can see why they named this delightful little flower Hare’s-foot Clover. The fluffy pink, downy flowers resemble a hare’s or rabbit’s paw. Like other clovers the leaves are trefoil, but this one has very narrow leaflets. The plant grows up to a height of 25cm (10 inches).
It flowers from June through until September, and is found in dry grassy habitats inland, and near the coast. Scattered thoughout Britain, but quite localised.
I have always loved seeing this wild flower growing in the local fields, and usually en masse. It has a fairly long flowering period between April and October, and a magical ring of white anthers rise up tall on a slender, leafless stalk.
At the base of the flower above can be seen a well disguised caterpillar, probably that of a moth, which I hadn’t noticed when shooting at the time.
The Ribwort Plantain, also called ‘English Plantain’, can be found in meadows, pastures, on roadsides, waste ground, river banks, overgrown lawns, and even on sand dunes. It is fairly common and widespread throughout Britain.
The seeds are a good source of food for birds like Goldfinches during the autumn and winter months.
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Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata), local field, Staffordshire, England. May 2017.
I have always had Crane’s-bills geraniums growing in my gardens. They have to be one of my very favourtie flowers which die down in the autumn and pop up again in the spring, year after year. The colours and patterns are so vivid, and they attract a lot of different species of bee and bumblebee.
At the start of a 4 mile walk around the Great Orme from the West Shore, I discovered these beautiful flowers growing on the cliff faces. In the first two images you can see the rock strewn beach below. It is usually found in southern climes, and here, on the Great Orme, it is at one of its most northerly outposts. Mainly a garden plant, it usually only naturalises by the sea, which it has appeared to have done so here.
Also called ‘Dog Fennel’, it is an evergreen perennial with mats of intricately shaped leaves which are mostly silvery in the growing season. Apparently they give off a pungent aromatic scent when warmed by the sun. Hasten to say, I couldn’t smell anything on the day which was overcast.
Sicilian Chamomile (Anthemis punctata ssp cupaniana), West Shore of the Great Orme, Llandudno, Wales. April 2017.
It is estimated that around half the world’s population of Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) grow here in the UK, although under threat by the introduced Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica), which have found its way over the garden fence. Bluebells can be an indicator of ancient woodland, and they are essential for pollinating insects like bees. In folklore, it is said that a field of bluebells is intricately woven with fairy enchantments. And remember, don’t eat them! Apart from being a protected species by law, they are poisonous from bulb to petal.
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), local wood, Staffordshire, England. April 2017.
This plant produces the most attractive wide open bell-shaped lavender to white flowers. It flowers June to August, and is found in meadows, woodland edges and roadside verges. Introduced as a garden plant, now naturalised locally.
Peach-leaved Bellflower (Campanula persicifolia), nature reserve, Staffordshire, England. July 2013.
Primroses come in many species and a range of shapes, size and colours. The flowers maybe yellow, red, purple, pink or white. The genus ‘Primula’, comes from the Latin ‘primus’, meaning prime, or first, referencing that the plant is one of the first to flower in early spring. See also Primula vulgaris.
It flowers spring and throughout the summer. As well as commonly cultivated and hybridised for parks and gardens as ornamental plants, they maybe found in the wild amongst hedgerows, woodlands and shady meadows. They are common and widespread throughout.
Primrose (Primula). Front garden, Staffordshire, England. March 2012.
This rather bushy perennial has pink or white peaflowers, or most often a combination of the two. The flowers are on long-stalked spikes. The leaves are pinnate.
It flowers July to September, and it can sometimes cover whole areas in fields. It is also found on damp road verges and railway embankments, river or stream banks, ditches and waste ground. Introduced from the Middle East and cultivated in the 16th century, now naturalised. Widespread and common in central and southern England, scarcer or absent elsewhere.
Goat’s-rue has been known to help reduce symptoms of diabetes by lowering blood sugars since the Middle Ages.
Goat’s-rue (Galega officinalis). Nature reserve, Staffordshire, England. July 2013.
This plant freely seeds and grows in my back garden, and it is one of those that must have always been here.
Also called ‘Wood Avens’, this hairy plant produces flowers individually so there are not many on show at one time. The flowers are bright yellow, with five rounded petals and numerous stamens. The leaves are coarsely toothed and divided into leaflets. The fruits are bur-like, with red, hooked spines.
It flowers May to September, and is found in woodland, hedgerows, verges and other shady habitats. Common and widespread.
Herb Bennet (Geum urbanum). Rear garden, Staffordshire, England. June 2012.
Also called ‘Oilseed Rape’, ‘Rapeseed’ or ‘Siberian Kale’, this plant is quite a spectacle in early summer when seen covering fields in bright yellow flowers. The flowers have 4 petals, and they are borne in spikes. The elongated pods produce many seeds which yield an oil called rapeseed oil or canola which has many commercial uses. The leaves are greyish green with wavy margins and a pale midrib. The lower leaves are stalked and lobed, whilst the upper leaves are unstalked and clasp the stem.
It flowers May to August. Rape naturalises on cultivated land, field margins, roadsides and wasteland. Native, common and widespread throughout. It is widely cultivated.
Rapeseed oil has many uses commercially. Because of its very low saturated fat content it is used in cooking oil and margarines. It is also used in soap, lamp fuel (colza oil), for lubricating jet engines, and as a biofuel. The seeds are also used for animal fodder and bird feed.
Rape (Brassica napus). Local field, Staffordshire, England. May 2014.
Belonging to the rose family, Rosaceae, it is also called ‘Red Raspberry’ for its clusters of lush red druplet fruits. The stems bear weak thorns, and the leaves are pale green above with a whitish down beneath, and they are divided into 5-7 finely toothed oval leaflets. The flowers have five tiny white petals which are bent backwards and are smaller than the green sepals between them.
It flowers May to August, and is found in shady places such as woodland and scrub, embankments, wasteland and heaths. Widespread and fairly common throughout.
Rasberry (Rubus idaeus). Nature reserve, Staffordshire, England. August 2013.
This is the largest of the UK Scabious species. The flower head is made up of pinkish lilac tubular florets, and the outer petals are larger than the inner ones. It has a long slender stem, with large pinnately lobed leaves. Similar to Small Scabious.
It flowers July to September. and is found in meadows, pastures, hedgerows, open woodland, and roadside verges. Common and widespread, except northern Scotland.
Field Scabious and other related plants were once used to treat scabies and other skin afflictions such as sores caused by the Bubonic Plague.
Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis), nature reserve, Staffordshire, July 2013.