One of my summer pleasures is being surrounded by wild flowers wherever I go for a walk – or even in my garden. At the same time I’m determined to learn their names and slowly build up my repertoire on identifying them. Sometimes I spend ages searching through my wild flower books as I want them to each have a name I recognise and can say – whether they’re a beauty or not. The joys of being an amateur naturalist!
“If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment.” Georgia O’Keeffe, artist.
Of course, one flower I never pick is the wild orchid.
Wild Spotted Orchid
After a walk last weekend I almost gave up trying to identify some flowers that were growing with abandon on a rail embankment of the Bluebell Railway steam engine line. In the soft light at the end of the day they almost looked purple. That same evening I saw them on Instagram and found out they were the Rosebay Willowherb. After a touch more research I found out this common wildflower is also known as Bombweed or Fireweed as they flourished after World War II in bombed out wastelands. Likewise they adore rail embankments where steam engine sparks might have burnt the soil in the past.
Perhaps some day I’ll be able to distinguish between all the different thistles? This strange one my daughter pointed out to me in the woods. I believe it’s a Lesser Burdock.
Lesser BurdockHemp AgrimonyLarge white butterfly enjoying the Great Willowherb.
It seems wherever there are wild flowers there are also butterflies.
Tufted VetchBird’s-foot TrefoilWhite CloverHerb Robert
In the middle of the woods an abandoned path was filled with these wild yellow ones. Now I have to admit I’m not sure if they are Groundsel or Ragwort.
Last but not least is one of my favourites – the wild poppy.
Just a final note that I live in West Sussex in south east England. These wild flowers are all common in the woods, meadows and even in my garden here.
Beautifully wild and great photos Kriss. Have you been/are you going to the Georgia O’Keefe exhibition at the Tate. I’m very tempted by it.
Kriss MacDonald says
I desperately want to go visit the O’Keeffe exhibition!
Oh such natural beauty Kriss! I’m an admirer but rubbish at the names so this post was super helpful – thank you!
Kriss MacDonald says
I’m trying to learn and remember as the seasons change Annie – there#s so many to learn!
Beautiful shots Kriss, I am not well-informed when it comes to flower names, but I do appreciate their beauty all the same!
you had me at wild orchid. such beautiful shots and you are surrounded by so much beauty! -Claudia
Rosie Hill (@EcoGitesLenault) says
I love rosebay willowherb – did you know it is the main food plant of the elephant hawk moth caterpillar – a dark brown caterpillar that grows into a red and orange beauty of an adult! We have burdock in one of our pig pens and I must go and weed them out otherwise the burrs all build up in the pigs’ tails which they hate – maybe I should scatter some of the seeds in the hedgerows by way of recompense for having to remove them. #HDYGG
Gemma Evans says
Amazing light in your photos. I have a book about wildflowers and a pocket guide to foraging; I always forget to pack either when I go for a walk. From reading your post I now know I see Herb Robert growing along many of the lanes and fields here 🙂