Astrantia, Californian lilac, Clematis, cowslip hybrid, euphorbia, flowers, garden, glaucous sedge, Goat Willow, gooseberry, Hawthorn, horse chestnut, iris, plants, Ribwort Plantain, rose, scabious, Spindle, Suffolk, thrift, Thyme-leaved Speedwell, trees, Welsh onion
Let me take you back in time…again….
A selection of photos of plants and flowers seen in May, this year. Please click on any of these images to enlarge them.
The temperatures began to improve during May and the leaves on the fig tree (on the right of the photo) began to come out. The perennial plants also put on a lot of growth and flowers appeared.
As well as the plants I have in flower and vegetable beds, there are the wild ones that I love to find.
This is a minute-flowered speedwell I find in the lawn and in the grass path round the pond. It forms patches of flowers as the stems lie flat along the ground and send out roots from nodes. The flower stems are upright.
Country people think it very bad luck to bring hawthorn blossom indoors and woe betide you if you destroy a hawthorn!
The wood of the Goat Willow is very soft and used to be made into clothes pegs, rake teeth and hatchet handles.
Horse Chestnuts were introduced to Britain from the Balkans in the 16th century. ‘Conkers’ weren’t played with the fruit of the tree until the 18th century. Before that, the game was played with cobnuts from Hazel trees or with snail shells. The name ‘conkers’ derives from ‘conqueror’.
I am not very good at identifying sedges, reeds, rushes and grasses but I think this might be Glaucous Sedge (Carex flacca).
I wonder if children still play the old games with Ribwort. In one of the games, the stalk is held between the thumb and forefinger and the bottom of the stalk is wrapped round the flower-head in a loop. When the loop is tugged sharply the flower-head is ‘fired’ and often travels a long way. I read that a form of ‘conkers’ can be played with Ribwort by keeping the flowerhead on its long stem and using it to attempt to knock a rival’s flower-head off. A couple of local names for Ribwort are ‘fighting cocks’ and ‘kemps’ from the Anglo-Saxon ‘cempa‘ meaning ‘a warrior’.
The wood of spindle is very hard and dense and pale coloured and from ancient times was used for making spindles. The wood is also known as skewerwood and pegwood and also makes high quality charcoal. The tree has an unpleasant smell if bruised and the fruit is an emetic. In olden days, the leaves and seeds were powdered and this powder was dusted onto the skin of children and animals to drive away lice.
With apologies for the length of this post.