"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, 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.


Margaret Adamson said...

I am glad you got themtogowithyou to see the primrosses and lots more beside. Have a Happy Easter.

Ragged Robin said...

Margaret Adamson - Thank you so much Margaret. Happy Easter to you too :)

Deb said...

A lovely old church (i do love old churches) and so nice to see so many primroses. Happy Easter Robin. :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Deb - Thanks so much - so glad you enjoyed the post. I think St Giles is probably my favourite churchyard. I just love the atmosphere and history of old churches and the wildlife you can find if the churchyard isn't too manicured!

Happy Easter to you too :)

amanda peters said...

What a lovely church RR, this is the kind I want to find, ones near me are a little to kept, did not know Wordsworth had liked Celandine, so will have a look at that. Love the last photo of the blossom..
Amanda xx

Toffeeapple said...

I adore Primroses and we are lucky to have lots in bloom presently.

I am not sure about your blue flowers, I think Squill have several blooms in each flower rather than singly.

Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful Easter!

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks very much Amanda. There's several country churches round the same area that are good for wild flowers. Must admit some closer to home are far too manicured :( I only found out how good the St Giles one was when I went looking for Snowdrops some years ago and bumped into a very kind lady in the church who told me all about the Primroses and how good the churchyard was for flowers etc.

Toffeeapple - Thank you - so pleased you have Primroses close by :)

I think you may be right about the Squill. Will try and find out what else it could be.

Happy Easter to you too - have a lovely weekend :)

David Turner said...

What a gorgeous plethora of primroses, indeed I am not sure I have ever seen a display anywhere near as good as that. It is also interesting that I have the same blue flowers in my East Yorkshire garden but I have also forgotten their name LOL :-)

Hope you are well and wishing you and your family all the best for Easter :-)

Ragged Robin said...

David Turner - Thanks so much David - I am glad you enjoyed the primroses - sadly I can never seem to get photos to do the display justice!

We have some of those blue flowers in our garden too - but I still am not sure of id. Morning or Bethlehem Star keeps coming to mind but that is probably a totally different species!

Finally, all getting over a horrible virus just in time to enjoy Easter!

Hope you are well and will soon be returning to your cottage. Best wishes to you and your family too for a Happy Easter.

SeagullSuzie said...

One hundred species...that's fantastic and what a lot of fun wild flower hunting. I have a pretty little pot of primroses on the doorstep.

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Thanks Suzie - I must try and go back late Spring and perhaps again in the Summer. I bet your primroses look beautiful :)

Countryside Tales said...

It looks so peaceful and it's wonderful that they have so many wildflowers there.

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Thank you - yes its a very tranquil place :)