In a different lifetime – perhaps simpler, happier times – I used to walk the wild paths to find out what was flowering in Hanwell, my area of London. There was a surprising amount of green space there, connected up by canals and parks. One field used to be full of bright yellow ragwort and cinnabar caterpillars, a sunny sight to see.
I thought I might try to do that again in Cornwall. We shall see how it goes. The foxgloves are especially spectacular this year, standing tall in all the country lanes. Huge bumble bees disappear inside their bells.
A friend gave me a book called ‘The complete language of flowers: A definitive and illustrated history’ by S.Theresa Dietz. ‘Digitalis purpurea’ also goes by the old names of Cow Flop, Dead Man’s Bells, Dog’s Finger, Fairy caps, Goblin’s Gloves and Witch’s Thimble, to name but a few of its delicious nicknames. According to superstition, if you pick one, the fairies would be offended.
Some eagerly awaited visitors have found our Lamb’s Ear patch – wool carder bees. They wear chic black outfits with bright yellow stitching down the side. The Lamb’s Ear are useful to them both to line their nests with their fibres and for their nectar. I was perplexed today to find one laid completely still on one of the leaves. I thought she might have been grabbed by a crab spider, but there was no sign of any creature gripping her from below. Perhaps she was just having a rest? When I returned a bit later, she was gone.
According to my book, Lamb’s Ear guards against harm and wards off evil magic.
Red campion grows along a field I walk around to pass the long days. Its symbolic meanings include ‘youthful love’.
In the past week campanula flowers have come out, casually growing out of walls and any little spot where no other flowers will grow. Patchwork leaf cutter bees zoom between them, occasionally stopping for a rest in the sun. They are said to collect sections of leaves from plants including birch trees, roses, lilac and honey suckle, which they carry away to use in their nests.
The mini apple trees were pollinated very fast indeed and the apples are now well on their way to getting big. I prefer the cooking apples on a little tree by our shed though, except that most of them are too high to reach. But I will get a few crumbles from them.
What is growing where you are?