Hawthorn and the story of the May wishing tree #ffotd#ff17

This is my first flower of the day post for May so what could be more suitable than May blossom. In late April and early May hedgerows and fields in England are filled with the delicate white flowers of hawthorn. The hawthorn (crataegus) is a native tree associated with celtic folklore and especially with May day and the start of summer. Continue reading “Hawthorn and the story of the May wishing tree #ffotd#ff17”

Grandma’s bonnets or aquilegia #FOTD#FF16

Pink flower of grandma's bonnet #FOTD
Grandma’s bonnet from my garden

Aquilegia which has the lovely folk name of grandma’s bonnet is a flower I associate with the cottage gardens of my childhood. I am sure I did not plant them but one Spring much to my suprise my borders were covered with the delicate nodding flowers. I received a lot of undeserved compliments from neighbours. Continue reading “Grandma’s bonnets or aquilegia #FOTD#FF16”

Bluebells#fotd#ff15

This month my garden is covered in bluebells or wild hyacinths. They fill every spare space and their spreading foliage stops other flowers growing. However I do love the delicate bell shape flowers which carpet the edge of my lawn. Purists would object that they are the Spanish variety of bluebell rather than the more delicate British bluebell which has a thinner arching stem and a stronger perfume.

According to the National trusts top tips for photographing bluebells you should choose a cloudy day. Personally I prefer less contrast and the gorgeous sunny weather we have enjoyed in April.

White bluebells #fotd
Despite the name like their larger cousin the hyacinth they can be pink or white though this is less common.

At this time of year local woods are carpeted in bluebells.

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This post will be added to Cee’s #flower of the day photo challenge and Brashley photography floral Friday challenge #ff15

Cowslip #FOTD

Small yellow cowslip flowers #FOTD
Cowslips in the grass

I have chosen another bright yellow spring time flower for Cee’s flower of the day photo challenge. Cowslips (primula veris) are a relative of the primrose with a similar dark green wrinkled leaf  but the small bell shaped flowers grow from a single stalk. In the past the flowers were used to add colour and flavour to wine. Continue reading “Cowslip #FOTD”

Gorse FOTD

yellow flowers of gorse
Common gorse

I have chosen gorse as my flower of the day after reading that children used to use the flowers to make a dye to decorate Easter eggs in the past. In England scrub land is alive with the bright yellow gorse flowers. It is an evergreen shrub and the sharp needle like leaves make it difficult for animals to eat.

Gorse bush at the side of the road.
I spotted this bush on my morning walk along the Bristol to Bath cycle path this week

Here it is going to be a very strange Easter with the churches shut and friends and family unable to visit.

Easter rabbits and chicks

I would like to wish you a happy Easter where ever you are.

Home thoughts from social isolation

Oh, to be in England
Now that April’s there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England – now!
And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops – at the bent
spray’s edge –
That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song
twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children’s dower
– Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

This poem is called Home thoughts from abroad and was written by Robert Browning a Victorian poet who spent much of his life in Italy.  At present we are unable to leave the house except for short walks near home and I feel a bit as he must have felt when I think of the beautiful spring countryside all around. Unfortunately the thrush who sings each song twice over is quite rare but we do have blackbirds, robins,finches and rooks come to share our garden and I took this photo of red tulips on my walk this morning. The other photo was taken in April last year on Clevedon seafront.

Tulips in a flower bed #Sunday stills

If you need cheering up can I recommend this family’s  version of “One day more” from Les Mis  It is true that getting an online Tesco delivery slot has suddenly become the most important activity of the day.

 

Red tulips

 

This post will be added to flower of the dayFOTP a photo challenge run by Cee Neuner. 

and    Sunday Stills a challenge run by Terri Webster Shrandt.

 

 

Penny Lane Austin mini

Two or possible Austin minis were covered with old pennies in 1967 and used to promote the Beatles record Penny Lane.

The 1960’s conjure up images of flower power, hippies, mini skirts and the birth of pop music. The iconic car was the Austin mini designed by Alec Issigonis and the Beatles were undoubtedly the biggest group of my teenage years.

In 1967 the John Lennon and Paul McCartney single “Penny Lane” was recorded during the Sergeant Pepper session and released with Strawberry Fields forever as part as a double A side. Penny Fields was the area of Liverpool where the Beatles grew up which was named after an 18th century slave owner James Penny.

If you want to sing along click here Continue reading “Penny Lane Austin mini”

Early purple orchid at Folly farm

The early purple orchid is one of the first orchids to appear each Spring  in an English ancient woodland. It has about fifty small flowers which are arranged in a cone shaped cluster on a tall spike. Like many orchids it has a rather unpleasant smell. The leaves are very distinctive with dark blotches which some people think look like dried blood. An old name for the plant was dead men’s fingers. Continue reading “Early purple orchid at Folly farm”

Foraging for wild garlic

Here in Britain the country is going into full panic mode with the corona virus scare. When I went to the supermarket this morning I noticed a lot of empty shelves. So it is good to know that many of the plants in our woodlands are edible and can be very tasty. A couple of weeks ago I went on a plant foraging walk in our local nature reserve and the leader Steve England introduced us to several plants that were safe to eat or had other uses such as making string or home remedies. Wild garlic is particularly easy to distinguish because of its distinctive pungent smell.

Continue reading “Foraging for wild garlic”