In May I’m looking for Wild flowers
(This month I want to see native wild flowers found in the hedgerows, woodlands, farmland, meadows, by the coast, up a mountain, on the heath and even in your own garden. Basically those plants that haven’t been planted, but occur naturally, although specifically planted wild flower meadows can be included. Wild flowers provide food for humans and wildlife and are usually hardy, resilient and well adapted to the climate and soils, and yes sadly often referred to as weeds.)
Solomon’s Seal: (Polygonatum multiflorum)
Britain has three native species. Polygonatum multiflorum (Solomon’s Seal) is the most common, being found in lowland woods containing Ash and Field maple on chalk and limestone. Polygonatum odoratum (Angular Solomon’s Seal) is a plant of limestone pavements and cracks, so it is disappearing. Polygonatum verticillatum (Whorled Solomon’s Seal) is an uncommon plant of wooded gorges and river banks, mainly in Scotland.
Most are two feet high or so (on average) and most have arching stems with pairs of leaves giving rise to another common name Ladder in Heaven.
The flowers, which are most often ivory-white, hang downwards in clusters from the leaf joints and they are often edged in green and slightly fragrant.
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On the hottest day this year in the south of England, temperatures rose to 30° C. So I took myself off to Painshill Park in Cobham, Surrey an 18th century landscape garden which was originally created by the Honourable Charles Hamilton between 1738 and 1773. Being only a ten minute drive from my daughter’s house where I was pet-sitting for the week, a walk around the Serpentine Lake and under shady Heritage trees seemed like a good idea, especially with several mystical follies to find. The accessible route is about 1.5 miles but then there is an additional mile or so on the historical route which is steeper and more rugged, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy coming along with me. Just bring some water – it is hot!
Bridge from the car park to the entrance
The garden was designed as a series of ‘moods’ each one leading to the other creating a romantic landscape. Hamilton was a painter as well as a plantsman and was, at the time, in the forefront of the picturesque movement. The landscape was among the earliest to reflect the changing fashion from geometric formality to the naturalistic style. Not much in the way of flowers for me, but none the less a pleasant stroll around a parkland that I suspect will look glorious in a couple of months time dressed in autumn’s glory. Continue reading →
Trillium cuneatum is also known as Wake Robin or Wood Lily or Sweet Betsy (USA). Originating from southeastern USA it is hardy throughout the UK and northern Europe. The musk scented maroon flowers are produced surrounded by broadly oval-rounded, often pointed, mid-green leaves marked pale or silver-green.
One of my favourite early spring flowers is this pretty woodland plant now known as Lamprocapnos spectabilis, formerly Dicentra spectabilis.
I once grew a white one (‘alba’) which was stolen from my front garden!
A bluebell wood is one of nature’s unforgettable wonders. The iconic flowers reach their peak of perfection during this month in England, creating drifts of colour and filling the air with a delicate perfume. Preferring a moist, shady position bluebells thrive in the dappled sunshine of our ancient broadleaved woodlands. Enjoy a walk in the woods and discover this native wild flower.
“How the merry bluebell rings
To the mosses underneath…”
– Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Adeline”