Sorry to disappoint, this blog is not about Vulpes vulpes.It is about flowers.I have mentioned my rudimentary wildflower identification skills before. My scant knowledge isn’t from lack of trying. I have lots of ‘fond’ childhood memories of asking my exasperated Mother for the nth time ‘what is this ?’, whilst holding up some sort of hedgerow plant between my grubby fingers. Despite being told what they were, usually prefaced with ‘how many times have I told you?’ it never seemed to stick. Seeing as I now have my own kids to exasperate me, I figured it was time to try and commit some names to memory.
Off I trundled to the ‘meadow patch’. Within minutes I had a handful of flowers and armed with my new bible , I settled down on the patio to figure out what they were.
The book is a treasure in itself. The illustrations are beautiful, and each drawing is accompanied by a short written description. Add in the fact that the plants are categorised by colour and I can see why Michael Palin dubbed it a book for ‘the curious non expert.’
My modest collection contained
- Herb Robert. This is possibly my favourite. The flowers are neat, pink and unassuming. The stalk is blushed red. The best bit is the smell, a woody, earthy, musky, unmistakeably foxy tang.
- Red Campion. Tall stemmed with bilobed pink petals.
- Shiny Crane’s bill. This looks alot like Herb Robert, but has red tinged leaves and lacks the foxy odour.
- Speedwell. There are lots of types of Speedwell. Lots and lots. They all belong to the Figwort family. I scrutinised the various entries and settled upon mine being the ‘common field Speedwell’.
- Buttercup. Again the book informed me that there are several types of buttercup. These are distinguishable by their petals, stems and fruit. Mine appeared to be most like the ‘Small flowered buttercup’
- Cow parsley. The only one I didn’t need to check. 1 out of 6 isn’t bad, right?!