Speedwells (Veronica spp.) are pretty, blue-flowered perennials that look attractive in a flower-rich lawn. However, their ability to root quickly, even from small sections, means they can quickly get out of hand in both lawns and borders. Germander speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys) is a stronger growing, coarser species than V. filiformis, flowering March to August. It is native in grassland, open woodland and hedgerows throughout the British Isles. It is usually troublesome in less frequently mown grass but can adapt to, and survive under, close mowing.
The flower is probably smaller than the nail on my little finger. But the macro lens makes it look a lot bigger. I spotted this in my garden on Sunday afternoon.
Winter heliotrope (Petasites fragrans) is found in damp places such as hedgerows and woodlands where it forms large patches of heart or kidney-shaped leaves. Petasites is from the Greek petasos, a broad-brimmed hat worn by shepherds. Fragrans of course means fragrant. It has hairy stems and pretty star-shaped flowers that have a delightful vanilla scent, though only male flowers are produced in the UK. True heliotropes are in the borage family, winter heliotropes in the daisy family. Though heliotrope is also used to describe the colour ‘pink-purple‘
It was introduced, as an ornamental from the Mediterranean and North Africa and is now naturalised in lowland Britain though not frost resistant so very rarely found in the north of the country.
It is one of the earliest sources of nectar for insects, flowering in January through to March. I discovered these clumps in the hedgerow near Trencrom Hill.
My first wild flower of the year. And not one to introduce to the garden as apparently they spread at an alarming rate and are difficult to eradicate. They are pretty though.
White Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a pretty little wild flower with tiny, fragrant, white to rose, five petal flowers, forming flat-topped clusters. The foliage is equally pretty and delicate with long fern-like leaves.
Also known as: Common yarrow / nosebleed plant / old man’s pepper / devil’s nettle / sanguinary / milfoil / soldier’s woundwort / thousand-leaf / and thousand-seal and used historically to staunch blood from wounds as well as being used in many herbal remedies. The English name yarrow comes from the Saxon (Old English) word gearwe.
It attracts predatory wasps, ladybirds and hoverflies.
The British Black Bee (Apis mellifera mellifera), or European Dark Honeybee, was common until the beginning of the 20th Century. Fully adapted for the cooler climate she was responsible for the pollination of the wild flowers you see in the British Isles today. Sadly a virus practically wiped the species out. I can’t be certain that this IS one of those descendants, but it does have a very dark bottom. Whether it is or it isn’t we need to do everything we can to encourage our bees.