"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

Monday, 21 May 2018

Baddesley Clinton - Churchyard and Garden

Last Thursday afternoon, after doing some shopping in Solihull and meeting my daughter for lunch, I spent a few hours at Baddesley Clinton.

I walked first along the church walk to see the wild flowers in St Michael's churchyard.

Buttercups Ranuculus sp.(and Dandelions) lined the path.

The scientific name for buttercup comes from Rana the Greek word for frog as buttercups often flourish in damp habitats. Richard Jefferies described a field full of buttercups as "enamel of gold". In the Victorian Language of Flowers it represents ingratitude and centuries ago it was used as a cure for the King's Evil and the roots were ground up with suet to cure the plague!

Before the 18th century it was known as Crowfoot. Other local country names include "Cuckoo-bud", "Gilt Cup", "Galland", "Butter flower", "Blister Plant", "Butter-cresses", "Eggs and Butter", "Horse-gold", "Gold Weed" and "Butter Daisy".

Horse Chestnut "Candles"

Speedwell species (Germander?) My grandfather used to call this flower "Bird's Eye".

Finally, after years of trying, I spotted a Holly Blue that was prepared to stay still while I took a photo.

Red Campion (Silene dioica)

The Romans gave Campion its common name when centuries ago in Rome Champions at the Games wore garlands that were made up of campion flowers. At one time its crushed seeds were used to cure snake bites - one West Country name for the flower is "Adder's Plant". Other local names include those connected with Robin e.g. Robin Hood and old tales refer to campion as the flower of the fairies.

Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea)

This is also known as "Pixie flower" as if you pick a bunch you could be led astray by the pixies that hide in it. Other country names include "Devil's Shirt Buttons" (it is however also a plant used to remove evil as it is associated at Whitsuntide with the Virgin Mary); "Daddy's Shirt Buttons", "Bachelor's Buttons", "Eye-bright", "Milk Maids", "Starwort" and "Star of Bethlehem". Names such as "Jack-in-the-box", "Pop Gun" and "Poppers Device" refer to the way it shoots out its seeds when they are ripe. Children in the past were told not to pick it as it was said that if you did so it would cause thunder and lightning!

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is also known as Hedge Garlic or Jack-by-the-hedge. It is a member of the mustard family and is sometimes called "Poor Man's Mustard". Its leaves when crushed smell of garlic and it is the food plant for the larvae of the Orange Tip and Speckled Wood butterflies.

Holly flowers

Lambs are growing up.

St Michael's Church

I was a bit horrified at first because part of the churchyard had been mown but

fortunately in some areas the grass had been left to grow and was full of wild flowers.

I thought this was a lovely sentiment to put on a gravestone.

Forget-me-nots were flowering everywhere.

Sadly, I failed to see any butterflies apart from the Holly Blue earlier and a few unidentified "whites" in the distance.

Back down the path towards the house

Timothy pleased to be getting a breath of fresh air rather than being cooped up in my back pack!!

There was a beautiful vase of flowers in Reception which I think were cut from the gardens.

Canada Geese with their Goslings took to the moat as I turned the corner.

Baddesley Clinton is a medieval moated manor house - home to the Ferrers family for 500 years before being sold in 1940.

Another pair of Canada Geese on the lawn in the walled garden.

Wisteria in full flower on one of the walls.

Parents and Goslings left the moat - not the best of photos but I had to include them because they were SO cute.

Mrs Mallard

I am not sure what is going on outside the walled garden - the pampas grass and hazel grove have been removed and they appear to be creating beds for flowers or vegetables?

Note - I have just checked the website and twitter feed and it appears they are moving the vegetable garden to this location. A new one was created in 2004 but as the ground was sloping and badly drained it quickly became water-logged and has proved not really suitable for growing vegetables.

There was plenty of colour in the garden - alliums, lilac, peony, fringe cups and perennial cornflower.

Granny's Bonnet (Aquilegia) and Iris followed by photos of the Clematis and more pictures of the beautiful Wisteria.

Timothy said "Au Revoir" to Baddesley - I will return as Baddesley and Packwood are my closest National Trust properties and I try to visit both several times a year.

"Britain's Wild Flowers" by Rosamond Richardson
"Discovering the Folklore of Plants" by Margaret Baker


David Gascoigne said...

Garlic mustard is an invasive species here that readily claims woodland from native plants. It was brought over by early European settlers for culinary uses, and it has spread everywhere and is the target of many people trying to get rid of it. I think the best we can do is not let it spread any more -I have my doubts that we can ever eradicate it.

Caroline Gill said...

Timothy, you are such a lucky bear going on all these expeditions! Baddesley looks a wonderful place to visit. There is something very appealing about a moat. What adorable goslings! As for those blooms of Wisteria, well, I was only saying earlier today how sad I was that we hadn't been to NT Blickling in Norfolk this May to see the walls of the hall covered in it (and not only that, but it seems it's Swallowtail season in Norfolk now). And yes, what tranquil words for a gravestone - I haven't seen words like this engraved before. I had quite forgotten that, like your Grandfather, RR, we used to call that Speedwell 'Bird's Eye'. What fascinating names wildflowers have - and meanings behind them, too!

Dean Stables said...

Lovely pics and a well written post again Caroline.
The Speedwell is Germander as you rightly think.

Ragged Robin said...

David Gascoigne - Thank you. Your comment just shows what problems non-native plants (or animals etc) can cause when introduced into another part of the world. We have many "problematic" non-natives over here too e.g. Himalayan Balsam, Grey Squirrels, Mink to name just a few. As you say I think containing it and stopping the spread would be the best solution with garlic mustard in your country.

Caroline Gill - Thank you :) Baddesley Clinton is rather lovely and I was so pleased to see the goslings. Hope you get chance to go to NT Blickling to see the wisteria this May and I had noticed too, on Twitter, that Swallowtail are emerging. Some of the old names for wild flowers (and birds too) can be so interesting.

Dean Stables - Thanks so much and also for confirming it is Germander. I took one look at all the species of speedwell in one of my flower id books and gave up the positive id!

Pam said...

Beautiful photos, the gravestone sentiment is just perfect isn't it! Interesting to read about the flowers, I suppose the Pixie story was meant to scare children a little? But I find it quite charming!

Rosie said...

How lovely it all looks. So many flowers blooming in the warm sunshine. We used to call Speedwell 'bird's-eye' too. The holly blue butterfly is lovely, how wonderful to spot it and photograph it whilst it stayed still. The candles on the Horse Chestnuts are glorious this year. I like the words on the gravestone:)

amanda peters said...

Lovely post RR, and thanks for the added reading on the flowers..interesting.

It all looks very beautiful and thankfully they have left some wild areas round the church, which is a nice looking building. I too like the wording on the grave stone.

At home we had a White Lilac tree the smell... but it had to be removed as the roots were damaging the building next door, I remember both me and my mum crying that day as they chopped it down..

Not sure if you can get dwarf ones to grow in pots as I would love it in the garden. We have been selling Wisteria at work (quite dear to buy) but it looks amazing once in flower.
Beautiful photos of a lovely place...
Amanda xx

Toffeeapple said...

I wish that we could smell the Lilac and the Wisteria, they are such fragrant blooms. The blue flower is confusing me, are they in the same family as Knapweed?

Spring has now come into its own here, the hedgrows are covered in blossom and it is to good to see Cow Parsley again.

Enjoy the rest of your week.

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - Thank you. I liked the gravestone sentiment too. The old legends attached to flowers are so fascinating as well as some of the medical uses! :)

Rosie - Thank you. "Bird's-eye" must be an old country name for speedwell. Was rather pleased with the Holly Blue - in the past have had to crop photos dramatically! It does seem a good year for Chestnut "candles" :)

Amanda Peters - Thank you. It is so interesting reading up on flower names etc. When I last went at this time of year the churchyard hadn't been mowed at all - I was so relieved they had left areas uncut.

What a shame about your lilac tree - no wonder you were upset. We do have a purple one in the garden but it is very old and doesn't flower very well - or again that could be because B over-prunes it! :(

I've seen dwarf buddleias in pots so lilac may perhaps be possible. I saw some wisteria for sale in Sainsbury's and was trying to get OH interested in buying one - sadly had no success!

Toffeeapple - Thank you - the Wisteria and Lilac did smell wonderful. Yes I think the blue flower is in the same family as knapweed - same latin name.

Cow Parsley everywhere here too as is Hawthorn blossom. Such a lovely time of the year.

Have a good week too.

Deborah O'Brien said...

My Great Grandfather used to scythe our local not insignificantly sized cathedral churchyard by hand. I often wonder how much he cleared, or if it was restricted to edges only just to keep a pathway clear. Recent discoveries of Victorian paintings show the churchyard full of long grass and pretty with wildflowers. Moreover, the tombstones are all in situ, whereas today they are neatly lined up against a wall. I think I much prefer how it looked in my Great Grandfather's day to the manicured lawn today.

I'm glad Timothy got aired!

Caroline Gill said...

Germander, now there's a name from the past! I may have mentioned this before, but we had wild flower tests each week in the summer term at my junior school one year; so yes, a name from a very long time ago. I'll try not to forget it this time!

Ragged Robin said...

Deborah O'Brien - Thank you. That is a wonderful story about how it looked in your great-grandfather's time. As you say churchyards with areas where wildlife flourishes are so more preferable to those that are completely manicured. Thankfully, there does seem to be a move towards the more natural approach in some churchyards these days just cutting the grass where the more recent graves are.

Caroline Gill - Thank you - I know we had a nature table at school but I don't remember wild flower tests - perhaps they should be re-introduced - I am a firm believer in natural history being on the national curriculum! It was my mum's funeral today and my husband spotted some bright blue little flowers and asked what they were - it was Germander Speedwell allowed to flourish in one of the areas.

CherryPie said...

I have enjoyed your photos, thank You.

Baddesley Clinton is on my list of re-visits this year :-)

Ragged Robin said...

CherryPie - Thank you. It is a super property so enjoy your next visit :)