Sunday, 16 May 2010

Spring flowers - and Caught Out!

I managed a short walk last week, in between bouts of painting, and strolled along down by the river. I had a lovely chat with our neighbour at the Mill, and together we put the world to rights!

I went up to the junction and turned left and walked up the hill a little way. The wild flowers were growing in profusion along the banks which faced East, as they caught the sunshine for most of the day. There were tangles of Bluebells, including some pink ones which you hardly ever see; some Celendines and Primroses in their final days of blooming; Red Campion (though I prefer to call it Rose Campion as the blooms are pink and not red); Stitchwort; Bugle; Ground Ivy; Ramsons and Sweet Woodruff.

Shining Cranesbill.

The view downstream.


Young Hart's Tongue ferns unfurling.

The beautiful little blue flowers of the common Speedwell. The Latin name of Veronica is given to this plant, and it is named for St Veronica. Apparently when Christ was struggling with the heavy cross he had to carry, sweat fell from his brow and a young girl - St Veronica as she became - ran forward to wipe the perspiration from His forehead. Apparently the marks were indelibly printed upon the cloth, and it is said that some species of the Speedwell are like a little face.

Common Bugle amongst the ferns. It is also called the Carpenter's Herb, because traditionally it was used to stem bleeding. One of the favourite nectar sources for several butterflies, including the Pearl-Bordered Fritillary, the High Brown Fritillary, the Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary and the Dark-Green Fritillary. I think it may be the latter which is particularly found localized in our area.

Sweet Woodruff, which smells like hay when it is dried. It grows commonly along the banks locally. In Germany it was used to flavour the May Wine (Meiwein or Maibowle), brandy, beer, sausages, jelly, jam, a soft drink, ice cream and to make a herbal tea with sedative properties. I see I have some recipe-collecting to do!! Woodruff ice-cream would be WONDERFUL. Hah! Just found a recipe - will share it with you later on.

Stitchwort embellishing a cooler bank.

You will have to enlarge this photo to see the Speckled Yellow Moth in the centre. It was very butterfly-like, and didn't care to be photographed - I had to pursue it stealthily!

Floating in a little raft down the river were the shed leaf cases from the beech trees which line the banks here.

A trio of Canada Geese and a Mallard keep company by the bridge.

Fahly and I used to jump this little stream and then canter up the hill.

Looking along the stream as it chortles down over the stones.

Our nearest bluebell wood . . .

As a little afterthought, I thought I had shed every trace of my Southampton accent many years ago. Yet when I was browsing the aisles in T*sco today, I fell into conversation with a lovely "old bwoy", and he suddenly said to me, "Where are you from then?" I told him, Soouthampton, and he said he was from Portsmouth, so my Hampshire accent must still be there in the background!!! We chatted for about 10 minutes and it was nearly as good as a holiday : )

14 comments:

  1. Envy you your knowledge of plants, I need to learn more.

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  2. I wish I could get the close up detail in flower photos which you achieve. I don't know if my camera is capapble of better and I'm not clever enough to work with it.
    I always wonder how so many people can seem oblvious to the plants, insects, animal life around them--aren't these things what make it enjoyable to live in the country?
    We've discussed at some length the peculiarities of local speech--I was reminded of that again in moving to Kentucky. Well-educated folks here retain the speech patterns of earlier generations, which are anything but grammatical. J. introduced me to an insurance agent the other day and the young woman replied: "Oh, I know you're his wife. I SEEN you coming out of the dentist's office down the street with him."

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  3. The speedwell blue is divine, and the dandelion perfect. I thank you and your friend for putting the world right, that must have been a big task :)

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  4. Mac n'Janet - I had the Observer's Book of Wild Flowers when I was 6 as I was so interested in wild flowers and used to press a collection. I still have that same interest.

    MM - "Next Door" is totally oblivious. He said to us, not long after we had arrived here, "I suppose you think it's beautiful around here" (as in, he certainly didn't) - well, it IS beautiful. Stunning. . . Love the "I SEEN you" - so "South" . . .

    Terra - eldest daughter's bedroom was that colour blue (Speedwell) for a couple off years. We have sadly had to "yellow" it recently to make it more neutral with a view to selling. Don't know what prospective buyers will make of the deep red and deep turquoisy blue (with half timbering) up in the attic! That I am NOT changing as it has a wow factor.

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  5. Love to see all the wild flowers and small streams. I had one of those observer books of wild flowers as well as one of birds. I can get homesick when I look at all those woodsy photographs, but then I look out of the window at the sunshine and I settle down again.

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  6. Nice to see all the flowers coming through again and blooming everywhere. I noticed today that the cow parsley has suddenly opened out, last week it was still tightly in bud.

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  8. Thank you Naveen. I have had to sideline my blog a bit recently due to pressure of work to paint up our house before it goes on the market, but I hope to do some more in this vein through the summer.

    Goosey - it's suddenly come out here to, but the blardy Council have already started cutting some of the banks beside the A40 - which has not only taken out the cow parsley, but also all the about-to-seed Primroses etc.

    Chris J - sometimes I think would I give it all up for some sunshine?!

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  9. I've always had an interest in wild flowers, so this post was a reall treat - Thank you!

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  10. More wonderful flowers to see! Since I had my son and his precious family here for nine days, I'm behind on reading...but I'll catch up!

    I grew up in the Southern part of the USA and still have my "Southern" accent...thought not as pronounced as Paula Deen (if you've seen her on HGTV?). When I go home to Tennessee to visit, my accent comes back stronger.

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