April Flowers

April showers have been few and far between this month.  This section of towpath is often muddy all year round but already it is compacted and baked to a crust, relieved only by a sad confetti of blackthorn blossoms.  For once I am grateful for our heavy, damp soil in the garden, fortunately not compacted like the earth on the towpath.  Hopefully my seedlings will be putting down good strong roots to reach the moisture, I am resisting the temptation to water them!

Vegetables, of course, are the demanding princesses of the plant world, they have special needs!  Yesterday while The Man and Goldilocks sought what little shade they could from trees that have barely broken their leaf buds I decided I would find out how less pampered plants were coping and make a list of all the wild flowers I came across - a static snapshot if you like.  I limited myself to those plants only that were in blossom.  So while the cow parsley is about to do its stuff it’s not included here, similarly the colt’s foot is already setting seed and their delicate hooves are now nothing more than fluffy seed heads.  There is lots of lush emerging foliage, meadow sweet, spikes of rosebay willowherb and of course nettles, comfrey, dock and the dreaded Japanese knotweed.  But for the moment it is the turn of the delicate spring flowers.

The blackthorn blossom borne on bare branches is stunning this year and stealing the show in the hedgerow, is this is an indication of heavy fruiting later on?  While nestling in the grass are sunny daisies and patches of  tiny blue speedwell.  In the damp meadow behind the house cuckoo flowers (Lady’s Smock or Cardamine Pratense) grow prettily through the juncus.  Less pretty are the butterburs, but what their flowers lack in beauty their leaves more than make up for later in the year, often growing larger than dustbin lids!

Celandine is always a welcome sight, and I’m clearly not the only one enjoying it.

My absolute favourite spring flower however has to be the wood anemones.  They may grow in fairly dark and damp corners, but they catch the light streaming through trees so beautifully.  I think the flowers have an unsurpassed purity.

Apart from the odd shy violet and a dead nettle here and there, what have I missed out?  Oh these!  Yes, dandelions are absolutety everywhere, these thugs are the hoodies of the wild flower world, striking fear into the hearts of gardeners up and down the land.  But actually they look very pretty when massed together and I didn’t come across a single patch that wasn’t being visited by bees and other insects.  They clearly do serve a useful purpose within local ecosystems, perhaps we need to start reassessing our opinion of them.  Time to hug a hoodie!

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3 comments to April Flowers

  • Lovely pictures Goo.

    I’ve been known to defend the poor, misunderstood dandelion myself too. And what about those sweet daisies – people go to all lengths to remove the daisies from their lawns but I think they look lovely. I have many happy memories of making daisy chains as a little girl. And yes, the wood anemone is so pretty.

    I love this place. :)

  • goo

    Thanks Earthpal! I think the making of daisy chains should be resurrected – I sometimes feel sad that children don’t get to experience these innocent past times anymore.

  • I just added a link to your page on my new blog 25th April 2012. http://barnandbeach.com/blog/index.php/norfolk/
    I’m not sure if this site is still a work in progress or is underwraps?
    Great site and thoughts for a lifestyle if it is operational keep up the good work!

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