Saturday 11 April 2020

Flora Tensensis 20.04.10

It has always been likely that all this extra time spent at home during the lockdown could well see some strange effects emerging or, at the very least, lead to surprising unintended consequences.

As threatened mentioned here a few weeks ago, I was contemplating whether to catalogue the wild flowers which grow in our garden (as opposed to the cultivated ones which we have deliberately planted). To put things in a bit of context, here's a reminder of what the garden looked like six years ago when we moved in...

During the intervening time, there's been very little management, other than mowing whatever condescended to emerge, in a partially-successful attempt to limit the spread of Dock (Rumex spp.).

So, armed only with a small compact camera and an enthusiasm bordering on insanity, here's what I found yesterday:

Dandelion Taraxacum officinale

Many gardeners spend a huge amount of time, effort and herbicide on controlling this plant. However, the Dandelion is one of the early flowers available to queen bumblebees when they come out of hibernation, looking for an urgent nectar/pollen hit. Once the flowers go to seed, finches will move in for a feast. At Tense Towers, that'll be mainly the House Sparrows.

As a brief aside, did you notice the other wee plant in the above photo? I am rather hoping that it is a Cowslip.

Hairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta

This year, the bittercress seems to be having a whale of a time, as Our Lass's flower border has several large patches of it. A local forager explained that the leaves can be used in salads, so I will endeavour to report back later. [Edit: hmmm, they're kinda cressy/rockety] I have to confess that I initially mis-identified this plant, blithely assuming it to be Common Whitlowgrass. What a muppet 🙄

Daisy Bellis perennis

At the end of last Summer, we removed an area of old carpet which had been acting as weed suppressant in an area which was designated as the new home of the rotary airer. During the Winter and Spring, the bare soil has gradually evolved into a forest of Daisies.

The day's-eye


Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

A garden with dandelions and daisies is pretty much a perfect garden in my book. Do you have nettles? Seriously, I like nettles too.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Hi Lucy, good to hear from you. Yes, we have nettles, though not many yet. I'm following their progress from the paddock next door, as the root system heads northwards through our wilder section. This part of the garden isn't very disturbed or improved so they seem to be taking their time!

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Thanks for the visuals of the flowers you mentioned in your e-mail. I hope you're keeping a record of the things you see, not for other people, but for yourself.

I know you had a couple posts about this a few years ago, but why are you planting willow cuttings? How have the earlier plants done?

Imperfect and Tense said...

The initial plantings did not fare well, I'm afraid, perhaps 30% success. How rubbish am I if can't grow Willow! I think that the ground here is too free draining for them.