"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Friday, 29 June 2012

"Flowers in the Rain"

One afternoon earlier this week I had to go into Knowle and I decided to make a detour on the way home and check out the wildflowers in St. Giles churchyard, Packwood.

It had been raining steadily for some time but I was really lucky when I arrived as it more or less stopped raining for the half hour or so I was there.

Most of the churchyard has been left unmown and is covered in wild grasses and wildflowers.

There were a lot of Fox and Cubs flowers around - I love the tawny colour of these flowers

Buttercups, Fox and Cubs and Hawkbit sp.

The tiny pretty flowers of Herb Robert

Herb Robert is also known as "bird's eye" or "poor Robin". Apparently in Somerset children are told "If 'ee pick 'n someone 'll take 'ee".

Wild Grasses

Bird's Foot Trefoil? (Eggs and Bacon)

Grasses, Vetch, Fox and Cubs and Hawkbit

I love the way plants will establish themselves in nooks and crannies - here in a tree stump

Hawkbit sp

Vetch (Tufted?)

Ribwort Plaintain

More photos of the wonderful wildlife habitat this churchyard provides

The churchyard is slightly more "manicured" at the entrance to the porch in the area where newer graves are located.

Speedwell is still flowering

Near the church porch I found a cultivated rose bush intertwined with dog roses

Lady's Mantle has become naturalised in the churchyard - I assume it has spread from grave plantings or wreaths.

This plant is named after the Virgin Mary. During the Middle Ages alchemists collected dew from its leaves to aid in unsuccessful attempts to build a Philosopher's Stone which it was believed would turn base metals into gold and silver

I'm not 100% sure about some of the species above i.e. bird's foot trefoil and hawkbit so if my id's are wrong please let me know!

I did my keep my eye open for Spotted Flycatchers but didn't see any today although I understand they have nested nearby in the past.


"Discovering the Folklore of Plants", a Shire Classic, by Margaret Baker


Rohrerbot said...

Such lovely soft colors in wonderful rain gear:) I especially love them with all the drops. We have rain coming and I know you have a lot of it....but the 110 degrees is getting to be too much! Hope you are having a great weekend:)

Ragged Robin said...

Hi Chris - Many thanks - I think raindrops on flowers can make a photo so much better :) I do hope it isn't long before your rain arrives. We have even more forecast over next few days! I'm afraid I just couldn't cope with 110 degrees - unbelievably hot! I would just sit in one place with an ice cream and cold drink and not move!!!Enjoy your weekend - I'm off to watch Wimbledon on tv now!

ShySongbird said...

Hi Caroline, You have a very enjoyable post here again and lots of pretty wild flowers. How lucky you were to find a break in the rain! Your mention of Herb Robert intrigued me as it is one of your other flowers which I have always known as Birds eye and that is Speedwell, what a coincidence that they are both known by that name, I love finding the alternative names, some are so funny :-)

I was disappointed to find our local cemetery which used to leave part of its grounds wild has this year manicured it to within an inch of its life :-( I too was looking in a country churchyard for Spot Flys recently but no luck.

I wondered if your vetch might be Common Vetch but don't take my word for it!

ShySongbird said...

I forgot to say, I'm a Wimbledon fan too :-)

Ragged Robin said...

ShySongbird - Hi Jan - I was lucky with the weather (we have had another awful week here although it has actually been dry today!).

The Bird's Eye name for Herb Robert is new for me too (it was mentioned in the Discovering Folklore of Plants Book). My grandad always used to call speedwell Bird's Eye and I think that flower suits the name more!

That is sad news about your local cemetery and the overzealous use of mower. I notice the grass verges on one of my regular routes into Solihull have been completely mown back to the hedgerow - so unnecessary too. From reading local blogs like Max's Birding Diary and Diary of a Birding Medic - it appears Napton churchyard is THE place for Spotted Fly's but its a long way for me. I may try Berkswell when I get chance as I found some there last year although my photos were dire.

I wondered too about Common Vetch - I must take more notice of flowers and leaves when I go out and take a fieldguide with me rather than relying on photos for id purposes. I have that little Mitchell Beasley guide somewhere.

Glad you enjoy Wimbledon too :) Did you see Rosol beat Nadal - so exciting. Sadly, he couldn't reach the same form today. Never mind Andy Murray later :)

Sorry far too long a comment!!!!

Toffeeapple said...

What delicious pictures. I love to see grasses and other plants left to grow unmolested, far more natural. More rain here - again...

Pete said...

churchyard can be great for wildlife eh!

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Many thanks. I don't think the rain is ever going to go away! Went to put out my moth trap last night and abandoned the idea as the heavens opened at the same time!

Pete - St Giles is a lovely example of how to "manage" a churchyard for wildlife :)

Gardens-In-The-Sand said...

Raindrops are so cool to photograph... And a rainstorm so difficult to capture...
Please send some of your rain... I get entirely too much practice shooting wilted leaves...
That's a beautiful churchyard... Un-mowed is such a great look.

Ragged Robin said...

Gardens-in-the-Sand - Many thanks for your kind comment. I was so lucky with the timing of my visit as all the flowers were covered with rain but the rain had more or less stopped. I really do wish I could send you some of our wet weather - it seems absolutely never ending at the moment!

Omi said...

Lovely collection of photos, Caroline. I do think churchyards are incredibly atmospheric, especially the wild areas.

Ragged Robin said...

Omi - Many thanks - considering the poor light the photos came out much better than I expected :) I'm not a religious person but I do find churchyards so peaceful and quiet and they do have a very special atmosphere!