When I see the grasses and sedges and rushes that grow in and around rivers and ponds, canals, ditches and wetlands, I don’t expect to see such gorgeous flowers as these. This is the umbel-shaped flower of Flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus), hence the umbellatus epithet. According to the eFloras website, Butomus is from the Greek bous, meaning cow, and femno, meaning to cut, which refers to the belief that the sharp leaves would cut the mouths of cattle. Fortunately, no cattle are at risk from this particular Flowering rush plant, which is growing at Cardiff Bay wetlands reserve.
I walk past this magnificent display of Oxeye daisies quite often, and it always makes me smile.
It runs alongside a local footpath, behind a wire fence that borders a school playground, and transforms an ugly bank of earth, which prevents footpath walkers from seeing the children at play, into a stunning floral flourish.
You might be forgiven for thinking the flowers look a bit ‘empty’ – where are all the insects that love feasting on these wildflowers? Well, though sunny, this was quite a windy day, with huge clouds scudding rapidly across the sky, changing bright warmth to grey coolness in the blink of an eye. But, when I looked closely in the more sheltered spots, the insects were there, sometimes more than I expected on a single flower head, sharing the nutrient power of these glorious daisies.
The occasional smatterings of rain we’ve had in the last few days have eased, ever so slightly, the drought conditions hereabouts, and the flush of new growth that was evident during this morning’s early walk through the fields at Cosmeston included my first Common spotted orchids of the year. Superb!
I spotted 8 flower spikes of Early-purple orchid (Orchis macula) during my walk last Wednesday, 15 April, though not all the flowers were yet open.
This sighting was earlier than last year’s, which was on 23 April and which the locals told me was earlier than usual. It seems like climate change keeps changing the goal posts for these orchids.
This week’s WildflowerHour challenge was to find wildflowers, in bloom, growing on walls. You might think walls would be inhospitable places for plants to grow but it turns out that rather a lot of our British wildflowers relish life on a wall. It’s certainly a good place for a plant to find shelter, and a wall might also supply reflected or stored heat so, for those plants that are able to push their roots into tiny cracks and crevices and don’t mind a life of hanging around, a wall can be an ideal habitat.
Here are the wall-bound wildflowers I found during this week’s exercise walks: Daisy, Dandelion species, Forget-me-not, Groundsel, Herb Robert. Ivy-leaved toadflax (this seems to be growing in abundance on every local wall!), Red valerian, and, my favourite, Yellow corydalis.
The Bluebells are in bloom!
Sadly, these are not native Bluebells but they were growing in a semi-wild location rather than in a park. As I passed along the edge of one local park yesterday, I noticed the Bluebells inside are also starting to open their gorgeous flowers but, as the park is currently closed, I can’t get in to enjoy them. Are the Bluebells out yet where you live?
It’s easy to see why water lilies inspired Monet to depict these sublime blooms over and over again, in a series of around 250 compositions in oils – such delicate hues, such symmetrical structures.
My photos are no match for Monet’s impressionistic masterpieces but, really, the flowers themselves are the masterpieces. These were flourishing in a huge public garden in the tropical climate of Singapore.
Dioecious: adjective; (of a plant or invertebrate animal) having the male and female reproductive organs in separate individuals (Oxford Dictionary).
My example today is the Yew tree (Taxus baccata), which has male and female flowers on separate trees. The male flowers are out now on a couple of trees in my local park – the female flowers may also be out but I didn’t look for them. The males are rather more showy and obvious, especially when they’re not soaking wet and their yellow pollen is blowing in the wind.
Roses are red, violets are white
If you’re confused, that’s alright.
Though most violets are usually, well, violet coloured, some can be much lighter shades of lilac and Sweet violets (Viola odorata) also have a white variety. I was surprised and delighted to find good numbers of these gorgeous white beauties growing alongside a local pathway yesterday. In fact, as it’s a route I walk often, I was particularly surprised that I haven’t noticed their presence in previous years.