It was almost midnight last night (here in Scotland) when I uploaded the photos below to join others celebrating wildflowers. So I missed the boat for Wednesday perhaps, but I did stop my garden potting shed re-org when there was enough light to wander round my garden to see if I actually had any wildflowers in flower and was thrilled to see I did and more than I thought :-)
Hidden deep in a planting of the ornamental grass Carex morrowii 'Fishers Form' I spotted Fritillaria meleagris (snake’s head fritillary) that I forgot was there when I moved some plants around. Ooops... glad it survived! I love this flower and didn’t realise it was a wild flower (although rare) until last tonight. Following the Kew link below I found the geography and distribution of this plant interesting:
“Snake’s head fritillary occurs in the wild from Great Britain and central Russia south to the southern Alps, western Balkans and the Altai Mountains. This species has become naturalised in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the Baltic region. It favours damp, sometimes winter-flooded, neutral grasslands, usually those traditionally managed for hay with some grazing.”Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
My earliest flower memories are of collecting them from the wild in posies to take home to my Mum although I should probably add that I really loved to see them carpeting the ground especially in woodlands and in the gravel along riversides. I understood that was illegal to pick wildlflowers now and on searching found this from the FAQ at Plantlife (a charity that is speaking up for the nation’s wild plants working to protect them and build understanding of the important role they play in everyone’s lives):
“Is it illegal to pick common wildflowers in the countryside?Plantlife FAQ
It is not normally an offence to pick the ‘Four Fs’ – fruit, foliage, fungi or flowers – if the plants are growing wild and it is for your personal use and not for sale. Many rare or endangered plants – such as adder’s tongue and lady’s slipper orchid - are protected under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act, so picking these is against the law (although, being rare and endangered, you’re unlikely to happen across them by accident!)
Picking a flower is one thing. Uprooting it entirely is another. The law strictly prohibits removing a plant from the wild and you could risk arrest for doing so.
Make sure also that the flowers you are picking are in a wild location and not on council or otherwise protected land. Any flowers growing in, for example, council parks, town or village displays, roundabouts or roadside verges are off limits as are those in nature reserves and community gardens. “
Flowering in my small urban garden on Wednesday, 24th April 2013 were Wild Primroses (grown from seed) Cowslip (bought recently, still in pot waiting to be planted). What pretty yellow flowers they both are.
The dainty white flowers of Wood Anemone were stretching for sunshine under a dwarf Rhododendron and the delicate, soft lilac Cuckoo flowers (Lady’s Smock) made my heart sing behind my garden gate.
Meanwhile on the bottom shelf of my small greenhouse tiny seedlings of red and white clover are starting to emerge. No sign of the birdsfoot trefoil ones yet or the self-heal but the use by dates may be gone on these ones. I’m growing these plants for around my new wildlife pond (awaiting liner going down some warm day). Now that I can walk into my shed again I'll get proper labels in my seed trays ;-)
Apologies need to go to Gail at clay and limestone (Wildflower Gardening in Middle Tennessee) for allowing a hedgehog to gatecrash my first post joining her in celebrating wildlflowers on the fourth Wednesday of the month. When you view the 12 second video clip below you'll understand why I couldn't not include that sweet face with shiny button nose...
To see other wildflower blogs posts for this month head over to Gail’s post and browse the links there. I like the idea of this one and will try to join in next time with some flowers from outside my garden. This sounds like fun and I’ll enjoy getting to know the names of these verge side plants that catch my eye when driving or walking.
For new visitors to my blog and anyone who saw/missed my last post with images from my hedgehog feeding station, the IR camera in there has audio too! Those who are familiar with hedgehog visitors in the garden or out on evening strolls might guess what’s coming next.
On Tuesday evening, just like many other evenings, I had been busy on my PC and at the same time watching a hedgehog feeding and drinking via my night cam on the top right corner of my screen. This hedgehog then left as per usual, then a familiar noise was heard – the noise of a male hedgehog courting a female! This is a noisy affair where the male can circle the female for up to 2 hours and then she may just walk away on him.
I’ve no way of knowing if this mating attempt was successful or not, but when I quietly went round the side of my house (in slippers, carrying video camera and a torch) with outside lights on, one hedgehog was walking into my feeding station. I turned around and the other was rolled in a ball (perhaps trying to avoid the other) with its little nose peeking out. It didn’t seem scared by me (it would have ran at speed or pulled tighter into a ball. This hedgehog rolled over and wandered away and I caught this sweet piece of video…
Wishing you sweet moments of wildlife over the weekend and many sightings of wildflowers :-)
This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in April 2013.