Wildflower Wednesday – Chenopodiums – Goosefoot in Autumn Colours

Chenopodiums - Goosefoot

Chenopodiums – Goosefoot

One of our local dog walks runs along the edge of farmer’s fields. There are few wildflowers along this agricultural route and the fields are regularly sown with oil seed rape, chemicals are sprayed on the crop. Last winter the farmer stored on one corner of his fields a vast pile of manure, muck, slurry, something dark. It was subsequently spread on the fields and the crop this year, wheat. Goosefoot, Grasses and Orache, have sprung up where the vast muck heap once stood.

I am linking in with Gail at Clay and Limestone for her monthly wildflower Wednesday meme. Please take a look at other wildflower contributors from across the globe.

Wildflower Wednesday – Fancott Wood and Meadows – a Coronation Meadow

Meadow Buttercups Ranunculus acris

Sundays view – Fancott Meadows – Meadow Buttercups Ranunculus acris

The nearby river is lined with Willows and to escape the snowstorm of Willow pollen raining down in my own garden last Sunday, we made a visit to Fancott Meadow, managed by the wildlife trust and now designated as a Coronation Meadow

In 2012 Plantlife published a report Our Vanishing Flora highlighting the desperately sad statistic that in 75 years 97% of our meadows have been lost. 97% which means a miniscule 3% were left. Prince Charles the patron of Plantlife galvanised into action and to celebrate the Queens coronation set about organising the Coronation Meadows project, 60 meadows for 60 years of the Queens reign were identified across the UK at least one for each county.

With a threefold task, firstly to celebrate our rare surviving meadows, secondly to create new meadows with seed gathered from designated Coronation meadows and thirdly to encourage the public to discover and nominate new meadows known as Peoples Meadows.

Fancott meadow, an ancient meadow in Bedfordshire is reached by a public footpath tucked away behind a pub. Archie, always ready for a good walk came too. A few Hebridean sheep now graze the meadows, so Archie was soon back on a lead.


Archie en route to the meadows

We had previously visited last July when there were lots of Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria in full flower thriving in the damper areas but just beginning to form buds in late May.


Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria May

Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria in July

Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria in July









It was too early for Ragged Robin and Great Burnet – Sanguisorba officinalis and we had missed the Cowslips and Adders tongue fern, but lots of  Clovers, Vetch, Birds Foot Trefoils and early Meadowsweet amongst the Buttercups and we easily spotted Yellow Rattle which is a semi parasitic grassland annual, this little gem weakens tough grass growth, helping other wildflowers to thrive. I bought some seed earlier this year with a little project of my own in mind.

Yellow Rattle

Yellow Rattle

I am joining in with Gail at ClayandLimestone who hosts the Wildflower Wednesday meme on the the last Wednesday of each month. Please take a look there are lots of other Wildflower posts to enjoy and share.

Wildflower Wednesday – Bluebells and the 2014 Natural History Museum Bluebell survey

Maulden Woods Bluebells

Maulden Woods Bluebells at Dusk

I am linking in with Gail at Clayandlimestone for Wildflower Wednesday today and sharing a great project run by The Natural History Museum who are conducting a nationwide Bluebell survey The data collected will help with a study on climate change. Bluebells are a familiar spring sight in the UK and although records have been previously kept they have not been nationwide or systematic, it is hoped that by collating the data on Bluebell flowering times and identifying which species of Bluebell and then comparing results they can determine if the flowering season is changing.

The NHM have said the survey results from the past 8 years have shown that most bluebells in urban areas are now hybrids but there are countryside areas which support native bluebells, this is quite alarming!

There are now 3 types of Bluebell in the UK, the native Bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta. And two non native, The Spanish Bluebell Hyacinthoides hispanica which has one more set of chromosomes, than the native Bluebell and an increasing number of hybrids Hyacinthoides x massartiana which is formed between the Spanish and the native Bluebell.

The Natural History Museum are also asking us to identify the Bluebells. The non-native species, which originate further south, than natives, may flower earlier than the English native Bluebells. Then they can determine if an early flowering season is caused by climate change or by hybridisation of the flowers themselves.

The NHM also provide guidance on identification, and apparently the easiest way to tell the difference is by pollen colour. Followed by smell and flower shape.

Recording results are really easy, enter your postcode and an interactive map comes up, where you can then pin point the location of your sighted Bluebells.

The little white flowers glowing in among the Bluebells in the top picture in our nearby wood are Greater Stitchwort.

Bluebells and Greater Stitchwort

Bluebells and Greater Stitchwort