For days now I have been planning to do an allotment catch-up post. For days now I have failed to find the time. This morning I promised myself a session at the allotment and then time in the evening to finally put the post together.

Harvested

It started out well – I even took the slightly shorter route to give myself more time up at the plot. Walking along the far side of the field I had photographed at the beginning of the month I was initially disappointed that the harvest had not only been gathered in, but the field ploughed over. It seemed so stark, but there was something rather beautiful about the texture of it all, set against a blue summer sky. And of course once I’d taken my camera out to try to record the scene, I found myself glancing off to the side, to the rough grass, wondering what wildflowers might be lurking. I’ve begun to try to learn how to identify the native plants that decorate the fields and hedgerows around the village, fed up with my ignorance and frequently entranced by their beauty.

White Campion

A patch of White Campion caught my eye, shining out from the dense nettles and couch grass. I am inordinately fond of Campion, red and white, because these were the first wildflowers I ever learnt to identify. I was 9, and our teacher took us outside for a nature walk. For a while afterwards I carried around a little notebook, and loved scribbling down the colour and number of petals, the leaf forms etc. and then trying to work out what I had seen by flicking through my parents’ identification books. I even pressed flowers for a while – I think that was started by a school project too – but I gave it up and quickly lost any knowledge I had gained. I love the stripy buds on White Campion – I don’t love how hard it is to photograph white flowers in blazing sun without the whites burning out, or whatever the correct photographic term is. If anyone has any tips on how to minimise this (other than coming back on a cloudy day), please let me know!

Dovesfoot Cranesbill

Next up was something I recognised as a native geranium of some kind, but it took my little identification book to tell me that it was called Dovesfoot Cranesbill, which I thought was rather lovely. A rather lovely flower too.

Creeping Yellow Cress

This blaze of yellow on the edge of the field itself has been a little more tricky. I’m pretty sure it is Creeping Yellow Cress, but the leaves were badly chewed so its hard to be certain.

Blackberry Blossom

Through the field and over the track and a quick check on the blackberries. This isn’t the best place to pick them – too many competitors – but it is a good indication of when it might be worth venturing further afield with TNG and a couple of bags. A few weeks to go yet.

White Clover

The mown areas in the field the allotments sit in are smothered in white clover. At least, I say white, but actually a lot of the flowers are tinged with pink. I was feeling a little guilty by this point, TNG was already up at the plot, and here I am lingering over clover. But I can’t resist a quick look in the unmown sections to see what is blooming now that the daisies and poppies are mostly over.

Slender St Johns Wort

Last time I got distracted by the wildflowers en route to the plot, there were a couple of suggestions as to what the yellow flowers were. Having taken a closer look, including taking lots of (bad) photos of the leaves, I think the prize goes to Mark@Mark’s Veg Plot who correctly identified it as St. John’s Wort. Its still a little hard to tell, but I think it is Slender St. John’s Wort, as the leaves are very thin, and anyway it is the most common type to find in this area. By this point my antics – crouching in the tall grass, shoving my camera lens into the weeds – were earning me some very strange looks from people walking their dogs.

Field Bindweed

It was such a lovely day, and all this nature gazing had made me feel so mellow, that I could even enjoy the beauty of the Field Bindweed, which is a formidable enemy in the garden. Given how much of it there is in the surrounding field, I am very grateful we don’t seem to have it on the allotments. It is so perfectly adapted, with its habit of climbing up and strangling anything it comes in to contact with, and its ability to regenerate from the tiniest piece of root. Couch grass is enough of a thug to battle with thank you…

Allotment Hedge

I finally made it to the lovely allotment hedge, planted with natives and now over 6 foot tall in places. It is a dense and healthy tapestry of mostly hawthorn, blackthorn and hazel. I went on to do some weeding and harvesting (of courgettes – what else?!), but when I got back and looked at my photos, I realised that if I tried to talk about the allotment as well as the wildflowers I would bore you all to death. And since I found that I really wanted to celebrate the beauty of the wildflowers, and since it is the fourth Wednesday in the month (or will be in a few hours), I thought I’d do my first ever Wildflower Wednesday post. Of course, I would pick the month that Gail@Clay and Limestone, who hosts the meme, was at the Seattle Fling

46 thoughts on “Wildflower Wednesday

  1. Lovely post, Janet. I’m surprised how many wildflowers we share in different parts of the country. The crane flower is different and I haven’t seen the creeping yellow cress up here. I had also prepared a post for “Wildflower Wednesday” . I was ahead of myself for once. Perhaps i’ll keep it for next time”……

    1. No, please, don’t let me be alone in doing a Wildflower Wednesday without Gail!! besides, I am curious to see what you have blooming up your way. The differences in our climates etc. don’t seem to generate the differences in garden timings etc that I expect, which is fascinating. Though ‘Lucifer’ has started flowering…

  2. Hi Janet,

    Lovely photos, I bet you’re looking forward to picking some blackberries soon!

    As for taking photos of white objects… Well you could stand in front of the plant to cast it in shade, that’ll help… But also use some sort of cloth to act as a light diffuser so it’s easier to photgraph too (a thin scarf for example, or perhaps draping out your clothes in some way – if you have a cardigan on for example.) but this method would require something/someone to hold the cloth to diffuse the sunlight.
    Otherwise it’s a case of playing with your camera; if it allows you to change the settings to manual and such, but that requires knowledge of shutter speeds and such…

    1. Hi Liz, was hoping you might have some sage advice, thank you. Ah, yes, fiddling with setting… Something I really need to make some time do to, though I don’t have a DSLR, so am a little limited. Think I will have better luck with a scarf or something. I would have used my shadow, as I did for some of the others, but I would have had to stand in the middle of the nettles, and I just wasn’t that dedicated…

      And yes, not so much looking forward to the blackberry picking bit, I always get so scratched, but the blackberry eating bit…

  3. Janet I just love that you get distracted along the way to your plot as the wildflowers you’ve shown are delightful! A couple of things I try when the sun is high: bump your exposure down a bit to underexpose the shot just a little. You can play with this, sometimes depending on how bright it is, you might have to bump down more. Another is to use my body to shade the flowers I’m shooting. Also, thanks for the suggestion of adding the email subscribe tool to my blog. I’ve found it in the features and added it if you’d like to subscribe ;)

    1. Hi Cat, first off, thank you! Will be so happy to be subscribed to your site, I keep missing things. Thanks for the tips too, I shoot in .raw and did try tweaking the exposure afterwards, but although it brings out the detail in the rest of the image there still always seem to be bleached out areas. I will have to try tweaking the exposure level “up front” and stop being so lazy… As to the shadow idea, as I said to Liz, didn’t want to stand in the nettles…

    1. Hi Janet, I think your walks through the woodland are part of the inspiration, plus it makes it more fun walking up to the allotment if the journey is all part of it. I get a child-like thrill from working out what something is.

  4. Janet: This was a delightful post to read and view. You perfectly conveyed the sense of wonder one feels when venturing out with an open mind to “discover” new plants and adventures. The photo of the white clover is spectacular–I’m imagining it framed on the wall. It’s a view of clover I’ve never seen before. All of the flowers are lovely, though.

    1. Thank you, what a lovely thing to say about the clover. And you are so right about the open mind thing. I may get odd looks, but crawling around on my hands and knees getting a different perspective puts a grin on my face. I think I am getting in touch with my inner child again…

  5. Lovely post, Janet. I started work in a new garden last September that is riddled with both field bindweed and couch grass – neither of which I’d really encountered in gardens before. Such joy!

    I used to go dogwaking with my little copy of the Oxford Book of Wild Flowers in my pocket and try and learn two new flowers a day. Surprising how quickly you begin to recognise things.

    I love all the clover flowers at the moment but do find it slows down the mowing. I have to keep on stopping to nudge honey or bumble bees off the flowers with the front of the mower!

    Dave

    1. Hi David, I love the image of you having to keep stopping the mower to rescue bees! I fear I would never get to the allotment if I took a book with me. My compromise is to save the identification until I get home, but then of course I often find I was concentrating on taking a nice photo rather than making sure I got a clear view of the petals and sepals, and most of all, the leaves… I am reassured to hear that recognition does come in time, my mind is rather sludgy nowadays, but I do love the discovery of new-to-me flowers.

  6. What a lovely post, wildflowers are a joy! The bees certainly love the clover flowers, you can see 10 – 15 at a time on our lawn in the midday sun – a lovely sight.

    1. Hi Alison, thank you for dropping by and commenting. There are bee hives up at the far end of the allotments, so I suspect a lot of the honey will be clover flavoured from very happy bees!

  7. I used to photograph wild flowers on our site = there were lots when we had plenty derelict plots but now they are all cultivated the wild flowers have mainly disappeared.

    1. That’s good news for keeping your plot weed free I guess. We have a surprising number of derelict plots, surprising to me anyway. It includes the one immediately behind us, another couple who have sadly found that fitting clearing and planting and maintaining an allotment while working and raising children is much harder than they thought.

  8. A delightful post, Janet, abd I hadn’t heard of wildflower Wednesday – I think that’s a nicer thing to do than wordless Wednesday, is it every week? I is also a scoincidence as this morning while driving to the dentists I noticed that there were a lot of wildflowers here because of the rain we’ve had this month. Usually there are no wildflowers left by now, everything is parched; they were also different to the spring wildflowers so the seed must jsut remain dormant most other years, wow this is nearly a post in itself, I’ll grab the camera, dodge the showers and photograph the plants here. Prpbably not today though. Christina

    1. Hi Christina, from what I can make out from Gail’s site, Wildflower Wednesday is the fourth Wednesday each month. It would be great to see what you have in your area too.

  9. You have some pretty wildflowers blooming on your allotment this week. The white Campion and Dovesfoot Cranebill are my favorites though. :)

    1. Thanks Racquel, I think those two are my favourites too. And the clover. Oh, and the St John’s Wort… OK, I am fickle, and love them all.

  10. hello Janet! I am so glad I posted WW this month~I managed to get back just in time to celebrate wildflowers with you. Your photos are lovely and I am so appreciative that you took the time away from allotment to photograph them and share with us. gail

    1. Not half as glad as I am Gail – I felt right foolish when I realised which month I had picked for my inaugural post! Thank you for switching me on to native plants. I’ve been realising that because so many of your natives are our garden plants, I have been guilty of ignoring our own natives, so I am glad to enter the fray, it is an impetus to carry on noticing what is growing wild around me.

  11. Janet, it’s always a treat for a townie to follow in your footsteps, listening to your thoughts along the byways. That harvest is early or is summer on fast forward this year? Beautiful images captured with a lot of tenderness but as for the whites, I either do the shadow thing or promise myself an early morning photoshoot…but it never seems to work out. St John’s Wort I’d assumed was a garden escapee but now realise it’s a wildflower aka goatweed.

    1. Hi Laura. Goatweed! That’s a great name for it, though I’d like to know how it got it… Glad you enjoy the occasional e-stroll through the countryside. I was surprised at the harvest, but there again am so ignorant that beyond knowing it was some sort of grain, I don’t know whether it is always ready by now or if it is a “feature” of the earlier drought.

  12. What a lovely post – and those white campion are just beautiful… I’ve got a bad case of campion-envy now; all I seem to come across are the pinks (mind you, they’re lovely too). Please repeat your walk and photographing next month, as autumn comes on – and who cares what the dog walkers think!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Kate, I want to keep this going, it feels as if it is good for my soul as well as my brain to take more notice of what is going on around and about rather than rushing from one place to the next full of “what I must do”.

  13. I can absolutely empathise with your diversion on the way to the allotment! I love to try and identify plants as I wander around, although the ones I see are usually in front gardens, unless I’m walking on the heath. This summer’s weather is good for the daisies, dandelions and clover in the grass – always such a pleasure before it’s mown back (I wish they’d leave it!). Don’t wildflowers have such lovely names!

    1. I am utterly bewitched by the weird and wonderful names Caro. I love that large areas of the field that the allotments sit in are left deliberately unmown, and therefore the wildflowers proliferate. We’re lucky in that. It doesn’t look like one of those picture book meadows every green lefty gardener aspires to, but it is still lovely. I struggle with the front garden plant ID even more than I do with the wild things!

      1. I’ve just been reading another WW post where the writer used to carry a notebook and camera with her so that she could identify (and learn!) the plant names. Seems like a brilliant idea to me! – If only I could be that organised!

  14. A wonderful post Janet. I too love lingering over wildflowers although my identification is rather poor. The striped geranium is really something. Very very pretty. Looking forward to hearing about the allotment.

    1. Hi Marguerite, sorry to have been so long replying to your comment, something seems to have “blipped” on my comment notification thingy. Ah well! I really must get on and put that allotment post together…

  15. I’m so glad you joined in on Wildflower Wednesday, Janet! I, too, have learned so much about wildflowers since I started to participate in WW, but I have much to learn yet. It’s interesting to see the different wildflowers in the UK that I’m not familiar with, but I do recognize clover:) And unfortunately, we also have bindweed, though I agree the bloom is very pretty…as long as it’s not in my garden!

    1. Hi Rose, the hedgerows are full of bindweed now, a lovely mix of white and pink forms, it looks beautiful. But as you say, not in my garden please! Am hoping that WW will help me get more familiar with the natives in the UK, I feel a little disloyal just admiring the US versions! Of course a lot of those that you all post about are garden plants here. But not bindweed. Unless it is in Morning Glory form!

  16. Hi Janet,

    Lovely post. I often find myself wandering around the countryside, wishing I had my camera with me. Though, carrying it around, whilst looney dog is on the lead may be a bridge too far. So nice to see wildflowers centre stage, thank you for bringing to our attention AND helping me identify those you described in your blog. Hope ‘wildflower Wednesday’ will be a more permanent fixture!

    1. Hi Petra, I think a dog and a camera could be a little too much to juggle! I too am hoping to make WW a blog regualr, I just have to remember when it is coming up…

  17. You really have an assortment of wildflowers out on your allotment. I really like that Dovesfoot Cranesbill…so pretty. How nice to find so many varieties of natives growing around your area.

    1. I’m enjoying learning more about them Jan, I was so ignorant. Id have the Dovesfoot cranesbill in my garden.

  18. Despite what some people say, there are still some lovely plants out there in the English countryside – and you seem to have photographed most of them! I know what you mean about attracting funny looks when you’re trying to get a good close-up of something. I always try to do it when no-one is looking!
    BTW: I only just got round to looking at your 19Jul post, with all those fabulous photos of bees and hoverflies etc. I’m in the same boat as far as identification goes. I can tell the difference between a bee and a hoverfly fairly weel, but ask me what TYPE of bee or hoverfly it is, and I’m stumped.

    1. Hi Mark. Its easy to forget our own wealth of natural beauty isn’t it. I think I am officially giving up on other than “bee”, “hoverfly” level id skills! IF I ever get butterflies in any number things might change…

  19. Very lovely wildflowers you have showcased! I was reading about bindweed the other day and actually had to google it for images. I was openmouthed to see it is morning glory! I did not know that it was invasive in certain areas. :)

    1. Hi Hanni, “invasive” doesn’t come close, and so difficult to get rid of. Pretty though!

  20. When I got down to your last image and read “hedge” I was prepared for something nipped and tucked into mathematical precision. Anything called a hedge my way needs to be coiffed into something out of a geometry textbook. But what I saw was much more informal, diverse and full of life. I’d like to see more of that style of hedge around my neighborhood.

    1. Hi James, I confess I do love a nicely untidy native hedge, I think it is partly nostalgia for my childhood, when we used to make dens in some of the larger ones around where we lived. There are far fewer now, thanks to intensive farming, and very few properly layed hedges, which are an art form in themselves. I know there is a place for a beautifully manicured hedge, not least when it is set against wonderfully woolly perennial planting, but I could never love them in the same way.

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