Monday, 6 August 2007

Flowers Of The Wayside Growing At Barleycorn

Anyone having a wander around our garden could not fail to notice a preponderance of wild flowers, many of them having been sown as annuals over the past sixteen years.
A great number have now become established among the perennial plants and flowers.
This has the effect of transforming parts of the garden into a wild meadow.
As a consequence, butterflies, insects and bees adore visiting these nectar borders, which, in due course, provide insects for the birds.
In our ponds the wild flowers bring insects which are eaten by the adult frogs, toads and newts.

Many gardeners regard the wild flowers as weeds, and pull them up, as they interfere with their preferred choice of plants, but I love the natural look, which suits our wild, cottage garden.

Growing as ours do, cheek by jowl, amongst the cultivated ones, they attract the eye, for a variety of reasons.
Sometimes they seem to burst into colour with acclamations of joy.

These are the ones which reflect the rich reds, warm yellows and vibrant oranges of the spectrum.

But, more often, than not, they reflect the cooler, pastel shades of mauves, blues and violets.

These ones sing from a different hymn sheet…soothing lullabies on cooler summer days.
They are all part of indelible childhood memories of walks in the countryside,
and along the shores of the islands where my parents were born
and where we spent our summer holidays.
As a child, I recognised wild flowers solely by their common names.
Not until the end of term one year, at my Grammar School,

when I chose a wild flower book as a prize,
did I really begin to pay attention to their botanical names.

Even then, it was only as an adult that I learned about the life of the Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus,
the originator of the classification system of plants,
who laid down the foundation for modern botany.

When I studied French and German at Secondary School,
more emphasis was given to learning the grammar,

and less time speaking the languages.
As a result, I am more at ease listening to,
rather than initiating, conversations in those languages.

However, one year we invited a German family to come and stay as our guests for a week during the summer holidays,

as part of the Twin-Town Link at our sons’ High School.
The father was a botanist, so in our garden,
he and I had amazing conversations about the plants,

thanks to the work of Carl Linnaeus.

At that stage in his life, our younger son was already fluent in German.

He was, therefore, utterly amazed that there was a wealth of German vocabulary I knew, of which he was unaware…
until I explained that we were speaking in the common language of flowers.

(If you click on each photograph, you will find its common name, followed by its botanical name . This will be easier than scrolling up and down the page to identify the flowers in each of the 34 photos.)


Barbara said...

What a nice and interesting post and so true! When I am abroad and ask somebody the name of a plant, I often don't know the common name in the foreign language. But when I mention the botanical name, we already have a basis for discussions!! Besides, when clicking on your pictures, I cannot see the common and botanical names...the photographs just enlarges!
Have a good time!

Dirty Fingernails said...

I love the bachelor button , the daisy,clover,poppies, violas, violets, dandelions. I know so many names out there for some many flowers!!! That what makes them fun!!

Bimbimbie said...

I always think the wildflowers are the most interesting and hardy and trigger childhood memories of happily picking pretty flowers only to be told that I had brought home weeds .... I still don't think so *!*

Bye the way the purple feather is from one of our native doves or pigeons .... I think pigeon *!*

A wildlife gardener said...

Welcome, barbara, to our little corner of paradise. Thank you for your comments. What an amazing man, Carl Linnaeus many talents!

I am sorry you are having difficulty trying to see the names of the flowers. If you move the mouse a little, once the photos have enlarged, you will see the dates, common names and botanical names :)

Good morning, dirty fingernails, and a warm welcome to you too. I know that some of the so-called 'common' names differ from country to country, so that is why I have given the botanical name beside each one.

Hello again, bimbimbie. Lovely to see you again. I love the wild flower meadows too and used to keep a scrapbook of pressed wild flowers scrapbook, in the days before it was forbidden to do so. We had a wonderful teacher in primary school who encouraged us to bring in wild flowers for identification. We had jars along all the window ledges...and he gave a prize at the end to the person who had the largest collection :)

Thank you for the information on the feather.

Wendz said...

I know zippity doo dah about flowers...I can recognise roses, and tulips and daffodils and marigolds and a few others..but that's it.

They are always lovely to look at though. So I am not bothered that I don't know their names, as long as they give me pleasure in the sniffing and looking, I am happy.

You, on the other hand, are one clever lady. And I'd love to be let loose in your garden for a few hours, alone, just to wander around it and appreciate it all.

A wildlife gardener said...

A warm welcome to you, Wendy. Lovely to see you again. I have invited you and your beloved to come maybe next June/July when the profusion of poppies are singing for joy; though the garden has seasonal moods which are just as beguiling :)

guild_rez said...

wonderful pictures..
Take good care of your wildflowers, they are precious.

A wildlife gardener said...

Lovely to see you again, guild_rez. The wild flowers keep on multiplying here at Barleycorn :)

Wendz said...

It's a date. Thank you.

A wildlife gardener said...

I look forward to that, Wendy :)

Z said...

When I was at school, I went on a French exchange trip to Belgium. In a public garden, the plinth of a statue was ornamented with oak leaves (in stone, I mean). He couldn't remember 'oak' so he said "quercus". "Ah, oui" I said, know-allinginly. "Chêne."

His English was far better than my French, didn't happen often!

I love wild flowers and always leave them in the garden if I can. Sometimes, of course, one discovers why they are treated as weeds, because they take over, but others are non-invasive and simply lovely.

Sheila said...

What an amazing and colourful collection of plants WG..!
I really think you could publish a book of your year, and it would be very popular.

A wildlife gardener said...

Welcome, z, to our little corner of paradise. I was amazed how long I could keep up my conversations in German with the family, when I had only used it a few times on holiday.

But in the garden, we were like long lost buddies..he being a botanist, and I the keen amateur gardener. I learned so much from him about some of my plants too.

You are quite correct in your comment about the invasive wild flowers. I have had to keep a lot of them in control until I filled in more spaces with sturdier plants which stop some of the more rampant ones from spreading themselves around too much. Campion, though I love it, can be a spreader...

I have to say I have had to do that with many cultivated plants orange Peruvian lily - an alstromeria, known in these parts as 'policeman's helmet' pops its seedpods beware of that plant.

Another is a very vigorous euphorbia, orange in colour (not fireglow), which I had to root out one year.

I mention these here to alert other blogpals who might want to give these plants 'a miss'.

So, I agree, it's all about control, till you get the balance right.

Hello, Sheila, and welcome to you again. What a great thought! Chance would be a fine thing :) you are definitely good for my morale!

shirl said...

Hi again, Wildlife Gardener

Great post, love the accompanying story and your photos too. Wild flowers really are quite pretty as your photos show. They do conjure up memories from childhood too don’t they? My favourite that I collected for my Mum was the cuckooflower also known as lady’s-smock.

Funnily enough I have been preparing a selection of wild flower photos for a post too – although I will need to use a book to help me identify them and I expect it will take me some time!

A wildlife gardener said...

Hello again, shirl. Lovely to hear from you. I love the lady's smock when it comes out...very sweet shade of mauve. I look forward to your post. Thanks for the compliments :)

Chris said...

This is a really lovely post with so many wild flowers :-) I know many of the common names but hardly any botanical names, thank you for naming them. Your gardens must be truly beautiful with so much wildlife.

Dawn said...

You even make the dandylions look good! I love to see all the gorgeous flowers in your garden. One of my favorites is the borage. They look like little blue stars. Your water garden in enviable. Such natural beauty must be totally therapeutic to live with everyday! :-)

A wildlife gardener said...

Good morning chris, and welcome once again. Lovely to see you. I can hardly believe I was an adult before I'd heard of Carl Linnaeus and his classification system, though I did know the botanical names of many flowers and plants way before then, in the way that you pay attention and 'home in' on information about a subject you find fascinating.

We do have a lot of wildlife visiting the garden, though, sad to report, with all the rain this summer, we have seen very little of our usual quota of butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies.

Hello again, Dawn. You are most welcome. I love the borage too. I make pretty ice-cubes with the heads. I store some in freezer bags to have on Christmas Day. Then, in the dead of winter, I have a little reminder of our garden in summer :)

The BBC reported that Scotland has had its wettest June for 70 years. Add to that the wind and the chilly temeratures we have had over the summer, and you can understand how therapeutic our wildflower cottage garden is to us :)

Marie said...

Interesting! Beautiful photoes!
Have a nice day :o)

Naturegirl said...

I enjoyed viewing the many wildflowers in your wild c0ttage garden! The forget-me-nots really caught my eye because mine only flower early Spring!I plant them in my memory garden with the cats who have passed away.
What a fancy name for the ~dandelion~ many of us toss away! It would be nice to walk your garden and make a crown of wild flowers! hugs NG

smilnsigh said...

Oh simply beautiful photos and flowers, all!!!

And oh my Dear, you must have much more back pain than I do. I'm so sorry. And it puts mine, in perspective.

I'm so sorry it makes you cut back on your beloved gardening. And many other things, are painful. But I'm glad that you made a good decision, concerning less blogging time. We simply have to do, what we have to do.

Many hugs,

A wildlife gardener said...

Good morning, Marie, and welcome. I'm glad you liked the photos :)

Lovely to see you, nature girl, as always. The photo of the forgetmenots was taken on the 22 April this year. I included a few photos of the wildflowers which grow here at variuos times throughout the year to show some of the variety we have, though most of them are in bloom at the moment. The dates are on them to show when they bloom, and can be seen by clicking on the photos :) I leave a few of the dandelions till the queen bees have survived the spring, though I take the heads off just prior to them seeding themselves around too freely :)

Hello, smilnsigh, and how nice to have you visit me again. I'm glad the wild flowers grow well here as they give the garden a 'natural' look, which reminds me of summer meadows.

I think we write our posts when we are able, as this is the gardening season when we are all being busy bees...certainly worker bees :)

Sally said...

Now, *that* was interesting W.G. (The common/botanical name thingy.) I love your garden - the freedom and wildness of it all. And I love how you wrote this post. You, my dear, are a poet!

A wildlife gardener said...

Good afternoon, sally, and a warm welcome to you. Lovely to have you pay a visit to Barleycorn again. I love the wild look of our garden too, though I've been out all day with my machete and secateurs to tame some of it, as it's all about control, isn't it? A little snip here, a good haircut there, a 'baldie' (that's Scots for cutting right down to the wood!) to some, a light trim to others...and hey, presto!...a sense of order comes back, even to the wild garden.

Thank you very much for the kind words. Prr! Prr!That's me purring now in appreciation :)

Yolanda Elizabet said...

What a wonderful story! The love of flowers is what binds us all together, regardless of what language we speak!

As you know I love wild flowers and have enjoyed the lovely pics of them in your garden!

Libbys Blog said...

I always love reading your posts, they are full of such fantastic information and beautiful photos!!! Thank you

A wildlife gardener said...

Good afternoon, yolanda elizabet, and a warm welcome to you, as always. How true it is that the love of flowers binds us together.

My German improved by leaps and bounds that week, because my knowledge of the plants and flowers gave me courage to speak with ease. Any forgotten vocabulary was easily dealt with by asking, 'Wie sagt man...?' Then, equipped with the word, I'd be off again!

We remain firm friends with the family. For having them to stay, I was given an unexpected present which the father himself had made especially for me. He took it out of the packaging and inside was a flower press, which he had filled with German newspapers, all cut to size. It is one of my treasured possessions. Though it would have cost very little to make, it was filled with love.

Being a botanist he taught me a few things I didn't know about some of my herbs, and also about which of the flowers I could safely eat from our garden.

Welcome, libby. Lovely to have you visit our garden again. It's a pleasure to share the garden with you. Come again :)

I felt very blessed indeed to have become acquainted with such a lovely family.

RUTH said...

I was reading about Linnaeus only the other day. What would we have done without him as often the different flowers have the same common name. I really enjoyed this stroll through your wildflowers.
Thanks for telling me about the glitch...can you explain what exactly happened. I made a quick post asking if anyone else is having a similar problem. I've no idea what the reason is :o(

A wildlife gardener said...

Welcome, Ruth, to our little corner of paradise. Lovely to see you again. I totally agree about Linnaeus, amazingly multi-talented man. I enjoyed sharing the wild flowers with you :)

Sheila said...

Hi WG..!
I have something for you...HERE...!

A wildlife gardener said...

Good afternoon, and welcome, Sheila. This sounds intriguing... I'll pop over to find out :)

Green thumb said...

Dear W.G,

No man made garden can equal the beauty of plants growing freely in the wild as per nature's plan. Even I tend to persist with flowers that bloom naturally except for the weeds which overwhelm the garden and destroy the other flora.

Nicole said...

What really struck me about this post is that yellow, mauves, blues and violets is also the colour of almost all the wildflowers on my island!

miss*R said...

Hi, thankyou so much for visiting & commenting on my blog. Are all these flowers in your garden? they are beautiful.
Your home & garden sound delightful xo

martin said...

We will be seeing you next year then.....

A wildlife gardener said...

Welcome, green thumb. Lovely to see you again. I agree that wild flowers have a special attraction of their own.

It's amazing about the similarity in colours, nicole, and yet you are in a tropical climate and I'm in a cool temperate one.

Hello and welcome, miss*r, and thank you for the lovely compliments.

I hope so, Martin...looking forward to that.

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