Friday, 3 April 2015
Primroses at St Giles
It wouldn't be Easter for me without a visit to St Giles churchyard, Packwood, to see the Primroses. I managed to get D and B to come along with me yesterday. To be honest I don't think it was the idea of seeing primroses that got them out of the house but the suggestion we could have a pub lunch on the way home! Primroses are one of my favourite flowers - I can remember trips to the Herefordshire countryside when I was little when the hedgerow banks were full of them. It was a real delight, therefore, a few years ago to find so many flowering at St Giles.
The church itself dates back to the thirteenth century and is dedicated to St Giles, the patron saint for beggars and the lame and today the church is still left unlocked allowing it to be used as a place of refuge for displaced persons.
The churchyard contains over a 100 species of wildflower - some of these species are rare in this part of Warwickshire. The part of the churchyard where the older graves are located is "left for nature" with grass left unmown, ivy and brambles allowed to scramble over gravestones and tombs. Wildflowers flourish in this area and it is a haven for small mammals and birds.
Primroses flowering along with a few primulas that have been planted on the graves.
I found several patches of Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis) a pretty little plant that can easily be overlooked. It does have rather an unpleasant smell and is toxic although the seeds are eaten by small mammals and birds. In the past its leaves were used to provide a dye. It does not colonise new areas easily and is often found in ancient woodlands.
Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) - one of the harbingers of Spring. A member of the buttercup family; in the Language of Flowers it symbolises "joys to come". Wordsworth was particularly fond of this species - he wrote 3 poems on the subject and there are celandine flowers engraved on his tomb.
Usually I find masses of violets in flower at this time of year but yesterday I only found a few - I think many plants are flowering late this year.
I am not 100% sure about the id of this cultivated plant growing on this grave - I think it may be Squill?
There were many daffodils in flower especially in the newer parts of the graveyard.
Primroses and Periwinkles
Memorial to Graham Baron Ash and his parents - once owners of Packwood House before Graham Ash gave it to the National Trust.
Several bumble bees were feeding on nectar from blossom in the car park.
Those of you who read about my visit to Samuel Johnson's birthplace in Lichfield might be interested to know that Samuel's parents, Michael and Sarah, were married at St Giles in June, 1706. Sara lived at the time in the parish of Packwood.
Packwood House is only half a mile away so we paid a visit to see the daffodils but I'll do a post on this in a few days time.