"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, 29 March 2021

Spring Flowers in a Country Churchyard


Desperate to see some Spring flowers and wild flowers I've paid a visit to the local church of St Mary and St Bartholomew, Hampton in Arden.

The chancel of the church is Norman c1130 and the west tower Perpendicular.  The tower once had a spire but it collapsed in 1643.

The churchyard was fairly quiet although I did see a few other people walking through.

There were daffodils galore.

"Daffy Down Dilly has come up to town

In her Yellow Petticoat and her Green Gown."

The churchyard on the North side was covered in Lesser Celandines and Primroses just as I had hoped.

Lesser Celandine Ranuculus ficaria is one of the first wild flowers to appear in Spring flowering between March and May.  According to John Clare, the poet, children called them "Golden Daiseys".  Lesser Celandine is also known as Pilewort, Golden Guinea, Golden Stars, Star Flower, Bright Eye, Scurvywort and Butter and Cheese.  The flowers close when it rains and is cold only opening when the sun apppears.  In the Language of Flowers it represents "joys to come".  It was the favourite flower of the poet William Wordsworth who asked for it to be engraved on his gravestone but the stone mason got it wrong and William ended up with a Greater Celandine instead!

I found just one Snakeshead Fritillary - a white one.

Daisy Bellis perennis 

Daisies are said to represent Mary's tears as when she was picking the flowers for the baby Jesus she pricked her finger and the pink tinge to the petals was caused by her blood.  Children for years have made daisy chains and it is the flower of the newborn in some areas where it is referred to as "bainwort" because legends suggested a daisy chain could stop fairies carrying away the baby.

The flowers close up at night and when it rains. Local names include "Billy Button" and "Hens and Chickens".

I found a few violets.  Violets represent humility and are also an emblem of constancy and steadfastness.  Romans used violets to make wine and a wreath composed of them cured a hangover!  Today crystallised petals are often used as cake decorations.

A type of pussy willow catkin.

Beds of Heather

Grape Hyacinths



Despite the sunshine and warmth and flowers I failed to see a single butterfly or bee!

Churchyard Angels

Interesting rain heads

Old Doors


Green Man

15th century base of a cross - octagonal with quatrefoil panels.

I first looked round the church a few years ago and was surprised it was open. Of course at the moment it is locked but if you want to see inside the church (there is some lovely stained glass) please use this link St Mary and St Bartholomew

Opposite the church is the White Lion - a pub I've not been in. Closed at the moment but I noticed the wine merchants nearby was doing a roaring trade.

I hope everyone is staying safe and well.

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera.


"Discovering the Folklore of Plants" by Margaret Baker

"Britain's Wildflowers : A Treasury of Traditions, Superstitions, Remedies and Literature" by Rosamond Pilcher.

Friday, 19 March 2021

More recent reading! and a few Daffodil photos from the past.

I seem to spend most of my time reading!  So here's the most recent I have read.  I wasn't sure about the Inspector Morse above - written some time ago there are certain aspects that I feel uncomfortable with (such as Morse's attitude to women)  and in this book I did get a bit bored as he chased theory after theory going up quite a few blind alleys!  I will try the next one in the series though.

Sorry couldn't get a photo of the cover but the next book read was the Flesh Tailor by Kate Ellis - a Wesley Peterson novel.  I enjoyed this book immensely and I love this series especially with the archaelogy thrown into the mix.

I always enjoy the Joanna Piercy novels and this was no exception. I have a horrible feeling that I am nearly up to date with these books.

This was I think the best DCI Banks novel I have read so far. 

An interesting book to help you understand how to diagnose different styles of medieval church architecture e.g. Anglo Saxon, Norman (Romanesque), Early Gothic, Early English, the phases of Decorated and Perpendicular.  


Usually in March I go along to St Giles Packwood to see Spring flowers especially primroses in the churchyard and then on to Packwood House to see the displays of daffodils lining the road side.  To be honest I am not sure exactly how far is classed as "local" so I haven't been again this year although I am sorely tempted as you can prebook tickets for Packwood.  In order to get away from books, garden and cooking, I have included a few photos from past visits in 2019, 2015, 2012 and 2011. I hope you don't mind.

St Giles, Packwood - one of my favourite churchyards for wild flowers

In March there are always daffodils, violets, masses of primroses, lesser celandine and blossom to see.


Daffodils at Packwood

In the garden we have had a Goldcrest foraging most days in the Christmas Tree on the patio and a female blackbird is building a nest in one on the shrubs alongside the first lawn.

D had a cheesemaking kit for Christmas and he started off making the easiest - Light Cream Cheese to which he added a few chopped chives from the garden. It was delicious.

Next he plans to make cottage cheese which seems to be the next easiest.  

As we only do online shopping with delivery once a week we have to plan in advance as you have to use the right type of milk ie unhomogenised full fat whole milk.

I hope everyone is staying safe and well.

All photos taken by me with the Panansonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera or Olympus dslr.