Coastal wild flowers
The cliffs are covered in wild flowers at the moment. It is wonderful sight. and as usual I have taken too many pictures - this is only a selection!
Daisies are everywhere!
The yellow birds-foot trefoil is a wonderful source of nectar and pollen to bees. I was amazed to discover that it has over 70 different names! These range from Eggs and bacon, Butter and Eggs, Hens and chickens, Dutchmen's clogs and Lady slippers. A less attractive name is Granny's toe nails, which like the bird foot describes the claw like seed pods. Many years ago we had a friend visiting us who was an wildlife expert, and of all the plants in our garden he was most excited to see a patch of this flower in a forgotten corner! Is there any other names that you associate this plant with?
The Valerian flower in both it's white and pink form are also in abundance. Once it finds somewhere happy to grow it will spread and seed happily! We introduced a plant in our previous front garden and it ended up appearing in many of the neighbouring gardens too! It is also another good plant for bees and butterflies.
The next plant is I think, Milk Thistle, it too has many other names including Mediterranean Thistle, Mary's thistle and Scottish thistle. You can recognise it by the milk like sploshes on the leaves and the milky white sap when the leaves are crushed. It is amazing to think that it has been used medically for the last 2,000 years to treat liver complaints.
At this time of year the sea thift creates dense mats of pink along the cliffs and shoreline. It is at it's best in May and June.
Along the Chesil beach even when the sky looks so grey there are colourful plants to be found in this hostile environment. The silvery grey plants are sea kale, which are just coming into flower. Has anyone tried growing this in the garden? It was recommended at a talk we went to last year. You can purchase the seeds from seed merchants. It was considered a delicacy in Victorian times and it was almost pushed to extinction. It has recently become very popular with chefs and is now being grown on a commercial basis. It's tender shoots can be eaten like asparagus and the young leaves can be used much like spinach even the flowers are edible. It is also known as scurvy grass as it used to be pickled and taken on long sea journeys to prevent scurvy.
The white flowers of sea campion, it looks a pretty little flower but in folklore it was never picked for fear of tempting death. It was also known as Dead Man's bells and Witches thimbles. I wonder if it is any coincidence that it is found along the shoreline of Deadman's Bay!
Can anyone identify these beetles?
The yellow horned poppy's name is derived from the colour of the flower and it's seed pod.
Close by was also a huge area of Hemlock, it looks similar to Cow parsley, but this plant is poisonous. The hemlock prefers to grow in damp ground, it's foliage smells mousey and it has purple spots on the stems.
Moving slightly inland, many of the fields around us are full of buttercups and common sorrel. Do you think this lamb (above) likes butter? It has been lovely over the weekend hearing the sound of the sheep drifting over the hedge as we worked in the garden.
The May (Hawthorn) and Cow Parsley are still in full bloom and the Elderflower is just starting to flower and scent the area with it's blossom. We will be making our first batch of Elderflower cordial later. I might even have time this year to make some Elderflower champagne! Which wildflower is the most abundant in your area at the moment?
Apologies for not being around much in blog land this week, the flora, fauna and scenery keeps calling me away from the computer! I am trying to learn the different varieties of plant as I go along so if I have got anything wrong please let me know!
Wishing you a good week ahead!