Poppies Popping Up

Common Poppy Papaver rhoeas

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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.


Common Poppy Papaver rhoeas, June 2018, local field, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman. Sigma 18-300mm lens.

Red Clover Trifolium pratense

Red Clover Trifolium pratense

One of the many delights to be found in a wild flower meadow.

Red Clover Trifolium pratense

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May 2018, local field, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman. Sigma 18-300mm lens.

Finally, After 3 Years …

Yellow Flag Iris Iris pseudacorus

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.

Yellow Flag Iris Iris pseudacorus

Yellow Flag Iris Iris pseudacorus

Yellow Flag Iris Iris pseudacorus

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May 2018, garden pond, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman Sigma 18-300mm.

One of The Speedwells

Speedwell

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This is such a lovely little plant and I always enjoy spotting it in the fields. It is one of the Speedwells, which one it is I don’t know.

May 2018, local field, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman. Sigma 18-300mm lens.

 

A Tiny Cup To Catch The Light

Meadow Buttercup Ranunculus acris

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Meadow Buttercup Ranunculus acris, May 2018, local field, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman. Sigma 18-300mm lens.

Life Moves On

Bluebells

The bough of the Alder has fallen across the woodland path, sounding the death knell of this aged tree. Yet where death goes, life follows and flourishes, life moves on.

May 2018, local wood carpeted with Bluebells, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman

Common Vetch

Common Vetch Vicia sativa

Out in the fields yesterday a small patch of Common Vetch Vicia sativa, which belongs to the pea family Fabaceae, caught my eye. The buds were just beginning to unfurl.

May 2018, local field, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman

Green Alkanet

Green Alkanet Pentaglottis sempervirens

Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens), is such a stand out plant with its vibrant blue flowers. I photographed this with my 70-300mm zoom lens as I did not have my macro lens with me at the time.

May 2018, Kinver, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman

 

Common Dandelion Taraxacum officinale

Common Dandelion Taraxacum officinale

This common garden weed, which can be a pain to pull out without leaving the roots in, can be quite a beautiful thing indeed, especially when seen in large numbers covering meadows or on roadsides.

April 2018, front verge, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman

The Heart of Spring

Lesser Celandine Ranunculus ficaria

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.

Lesser Celandine Ranunculus ficaria

Lesser Celandine Ranunculus ficaria

Lesser Celandine Ranunculus ficaria, April 2018, local woodland margin, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman

Spring In The Garden Pond

Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris

Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris, April 2018, rear garden pond, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman

Spotlight On Hairy Bittercress

Hairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta

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.

Hairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta

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.

Hairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta leaves

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.

Hairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta seedpods

The long and slender seedpods (see image above), when ripe enough will explode, jettisoning the seeds to new ground.

Hairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta

The plant grows no taller than 30 centimetres (12in).

Hairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta


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Hairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta, April 2018, front garden verge, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman

Hare’s-foot Clover Trifolium arvense

Hare's-foot Clover Trifolium arvense

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.

Hare's-foot Clover Trifolium arvense

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).

Hare's-foot Clover Trifolium arvense leaf

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.

Hare's-foot Clover Trifolium arvense

Hare's-foot Clover Trifolium arvense

Hare's-foot Clover Trifolium arvense

Local field, Staffordshire, England, August 2017.

No Petals Yet Beauty Still Remains

Herb Bennet Geum urbanum seedhead

After flowers have run their course and have lost their petals I am always on the look out for what come next. Sometimes it can be equally or even more beautiful than what came before.


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Herb Bennet (Geum urbanum) seedhead. Front garden, Staffordshire, England. June 2017.

Spotting The Spotted Orchid

Common Spotted-orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii

I came across this bright and colourful plant all alone in a field near my local river. It is called the Common Spotted-orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii).

Common Spotted-orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Common Spotted-orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Common Spotted-orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Common Spotted-orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Common Spotted-orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii leaves


May 2017, Staffordshire, England.

Ribwort Plantain

Plantago lanceolata

 Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata

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.

 Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata

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.

 Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata

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.

 Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata

The seeds are a good source of food for birds like Goldfinches during the autumn and winter months.

 Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata


Please click on the images for a larger more detailed view.


Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata), local field, Staffordshire, England. May 2017.

Catching The Light

Pencilled Cranes-bill Geranium versicolor


Pencilled Cranes-bill (Geranium versicolor), rear garden, Staffordshire, England. May 2017.

The Heart of A Flower

French Cranes-bill Geranium endressii


French Cranes-bill (Geranium endressii), front garden, Staffordshire, England. May 2017.

Shades of Purple

Meadow Cranes-bill Geranium pratense


Meadow Cranes-bill (Geranium pratense), rear garden, Staffordshire, England. May 2017.

Crane’s-bills

Meadow Crane's-bill Geranium pratense
Meadow Crane’s-bill (Geranium pratense)
Pencilled Crane's-bill (Geranium versicolor)
Pencilled Crane’s-bill (Geranium versicolor)
French Crane’s-bill Geranium endressi
French Crane’s-bill (Geranium endressii)

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.


Front and rear gardens, Staffordshire. May 2017.

Granny’s Bonnet

Columbine Aquilegia

Columbine Aquilegia

Columbine Aquilegia

Columbine Aquilegia


Columbine (Aquilegia), also called Granny’s Bonnet, and I can see why. Front garden, Staffordshire, England. May 2017.

Bluebells In The Garden

Bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta


Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) and introducing Red Mason Bee (Osmia bicornis), rear garden, Staffordshire, England. April 2017.

Sicilian Chamomile

Anthemis punctata ssp cupaniana

Sicilian Chamomile Anthemis punctata ssp cupaniana

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.

Sicilian Chamomile Anthemis punctata ssp cupaniana

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


Sicilian Chamomile (Anthemis punctata ssp cupaniana), West Shore of the Great Orme, Llandudno, Wales. April 2017.

Bluebells In The Woods

Bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta

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

Bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), local wood, Staffordshire, England. April 2017.

Red Dead-nettle

Lamium purpureum

Red Dead-nettle Lamium purpureum

Also called the ‘Purple Dead-nettle’, as a member of the mint family, this nettle does not sting. The flowers are purple to red, and the tips of the coarsely toothed leaves are flushed red.

Red Dead-nettle Lamium purpureum

It flowers March to December, and is found in hedgerows, on roadside verges, disturbed ground, and wasteland. Common and widespread.

Red Dead-nettle Lamium purpureum


Red Dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum), local public walkway, Staffordshire, England. July 2012.

Nettle-leaved Bellflower

Campanula trachelium

Nettle-leaved bellflower Campanula trachelium

The bright bell-shaped violet-blue flowers of this plant are quite handsome and appealing. The leaves are fairly hairy and resemble those of stinging nettle, although they harbour no sting.

It flowers July to September, and is found in woodland margins, hedgerows and scrub. Locally common in south and east England


Nettle-leaved bellflower (Campanula trachelium), local field, Staffordhsire, England. July 2013.

Peach-leaved Bellflower

Campanula persicifolia

 Peach-leaved Bellflower Campanula persicifolia

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

 Peach-leaved Bellflower Campanula persicifolia


Peach-leaved Bellflower (Campanula persicifolia), nature reserve, Staffordshire, England. July 2013.

Bluebells Don’t Chime

Bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta

… but they are awfully pretty.


Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), front garden, Staffordshire, England. April 2017.

Budding Bluebells

Bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), rear garden, Staffordshire, England. April 2017.

Primrose

Primula

Primrose Primula

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.

Goat’s-rue

Galega officinalis

Goat’s-rue Galega officinalis

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.

Goat’s-rue Galega officinalis

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 Galega officinalis

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.

Herb Bennet

Geum urbanum

Herb Bennet Geum urbanum

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.

Herb Bennet Geum urbanum seedhead

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.

Rape

Brassica napus

Rape Brassica napus

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.

Rape Brassica napus

It flowers May to August. Rape naturalises on cultivated land, field margins, roadsides and wasteland. Native, common and widespread throughout. It is widely cultivated.

Rape Brassica napus

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.

 

Rasberry

Rubus idaeus

Rasberry Rubus idaeus

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.

Rasberry Rubus idaeus

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


Rasberry (Rubus idaeus). Nature reserve, Staffordshire, England. August 2013.

Field Scabious

Knautia arvensis

Field Scabious Knautia arvensis

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.

Field Scabious Knautia arvensis leaf

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.