Thursday 30 August 2007

The Magnetism Of Inula Daisies

We have had the wettest June and July on record for the past 70 years. As a result, apart from a fleeting view of an orange-tip in April, we did not have our usual quota of butterflies at Barleycorn during the summer months.
I was therefore waiting with bated breath for the flowering of the inula daisies this month, as they always supply much-needed sustenance for many of the insects, bees and butterflies which visit the garden.
As the weather conditions improved, they began to appear slowly in dribs and drabs. I took some photographs of the variety of little creatures as they arrived each day. If you click on each picture you will see the actual dates when I photographed them, along with their names.
I took the little video, below this post, today, because most of the butterflies suddenly appeared. Being shy of humans, the small white and the red admiral flew off as I approached with my camera.
Not wishing to deprive them of their food, I'm happy to report that they returned for their share of the nectar once I retreated.
Our house borders a busy B road, with its fair share of passing traffic. Today, everyone seemed to be in their cars racing by at a great speed of noughts.
The sound made the butterflies flit to and fro.

Two tractor mowers, one on either side of our garden started their droning sounds. Forwards and back again, they began to hoover their owners' enormous lawns.
Cockerels and bantams from a neighbour's garden across the road began competing with each other to see who could crow the loudest.
All the while, next door's collie was having fun running up and down his garden pouncing on his squeaky toys.
I'm surprised the butterflies, insects and bees stayed long enough for me to capture them on video.

Butterflies At Barleycorn

Wednesday 22 August 2007

One Misty, Moisty Morning

In the deafening silence, The early morning dew
has painted droplets
on filigree nets.
Interlacing secrets,
created by silent weavers, while we slept.
Each quite unique,
of unparalleled beauty,
transparent, yet visible,
A magical transformation.

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.)