The lesser celandines (Ficaria verna) are in flower. Celandines are the floral equivalent of the swallow, they appear around the same time and mark the coming of spring. In fact the word celandine comes from the Greek name for swallow: chelidon. One of its local names is spring messenger; others are brighteye, butter and cheese, frog’s foot, golden guineas and, less romantically, pilewort because it was once used to treat haemorrhoids.Continue reading “Lesser Celandine”
As always, the first flowers of the year are the hazel catkins: a familiar and friendly sign that spring is on its way.Continue reading
The park’s hedges have burst into blossom and the park is looking wonderful. The show will only last a few days; come and see before it vanishes.continue for More pictures
Red dead Nettle
This is a red dead nettle (Lamium purpureum), the commonest of weeds. It flowers for most of the year in untidy vegetable plots, roadside verges and, in this case, country park car parks. Nobody gives it a second glance but its flowers, hidden among its topmost purple leaves, are extraordinarily beautiful.
Have you ever tried to photograph lesser celandine or buttercup flowers on a sunny day? The petals are so shiny, like little cups of mirrors, that the reflected sunlight flares and obscures the details of the flower; if you are trying to photograph a celandine in close up, you have to do it in the shade.Continue reading
Spring is on the way
Ian Bushell has sent us a picture of the first snowdrops, taken today on the wooded side of the path along the edge of Lambrok Meadow. Lovely!
The park’s ivy flowers between September and November; each plant’s flowering season is quite short but a succession of plants flowers all through the autumn. The flowers are small, green and yellow, and so insignificant-looking that many people don’t realise that that they are flowers at all.
A message from Ian:
May be of interest to you: Jerusalem Artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus, identified by Lindsay Moore [County Recorder Flora]. Ali and I found it along the stream near the bridge at the bottom of the Blackthorn Tunnel. I’ve added it to the Census. Unusual, probably from some bird dropping seed.
Last winter, the willows along the stream between Lambrok Meadow and the large pond were pollarded, opening the ground beneath to sunlight. Rosebay willow herb has moved in.
The Weed Act of 1959 requires landowners and occupiers to control the spread of five species of injurious weeds: ragwort, creeping thistle, spear thistle, common dock and curled dock. The Weed Act’s purpose was to increase the productivity of arable land and to protect livestock at a time, post WWII, when self sufficiency seemed at lot more important than ecology.
The hot summer has rushed the flowering season on and the park is full of seeds, fruits and berries: food for the park’s wildlife but not always for its human occupants. Some berries are poisonous.
Like ragwort, creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense) is classed as an injurious weed by the Weed Act of 1959. Our hedges and edges are full of it: beautiful, pollen-rich, heavily scented flowers, buzzing with invertebrates, followed by seed heads elevated on stems sturdy enough to support seed-eating birds. Gorgeous.
Photographs by DKG
The heatwave has brought the ragwort into flower early. There isn’t a lot of it, but it’s blooming beautifully; threatened by drought, it will seed rapidly and each plant can produce as many as 150,000 seeds. So….. it’s time for all those who complained about the spraying in the spring to turn out to pull ragwort.
Our grateful thanks go to the park’s tenant farmer. He has done us proud.