Saturday, 9 May 2009

Wildflower fest at work.

Earlier this year I started a new job part time. At first our office was situated in a portacabin in the grounds of Frome Football Club (not the greatest environment). Then a couple of months ago we moved out of Frome to offices on a farm in the countryside (about 15 mins drive). The great thing about this is that I can now use my 1/2 hour lunch break by walking the country lanes looking at the local wildlife there. I already have a pretty good work bird list going (of course) (-: and there are also some great wildflowers along the lanes. This post is to show some of those flowers.
On the way to work, I can see the Westbury White Horse (in the distance)!Here's a cropped photo to show it more clearly. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the history of this chalk horse, but if you're interested I guess it could be googled!This is my work area, in the afternoon the sun comes right in that window hence the blinds being down in this photo.This is our office area from the outside, we are in the building with the sloping roof with the lovely farmhouse at the end.So, here is one of the lanes that I walk down during my lunch break. As you can see it is so narrow that it is deemed unsuitable for vehicles! Perfect! (-:And so on to the flowers..... this is Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) Common name of Jack by the Hedge. It is an abundant herb of hedgerows and woods. It smells mildly of garlic and has been used in sauces for fish or lamb for centuries. Nowadays it is used as a spring salad ingredient. Its common name alludes to its habit of growing by the side of the hedgerows in Britain. It is the food plant for the caterpillar of the Orange Tip butterfly.Bluebells need no introduction! They are one of the most loved sights in the English countryside.A close up of this beautiful spring wildflower.Red Campion (Silene dioica) Common names...Adder's flower, Robin Hood, Cuckoo flower. In Greek mythology, Silenus, the drunken, merry god of the woodlands, gave his name to this plant. It grows in woods and hedgerows all over Britain. I'm not sure why it is called red when it is so obviously pink!Ramsons (Allium ursinum) Common names...Stink bombs, stinking nanny, londoner's lilies and wild garlic. As the latin name suggests, this is a member of the onion family and has a strong onion smell when walked on. So widespread was it in the past that many places were named after it. Ramsey Island off south west Wales, Ramsbottom in Lancashire, Ramsdell in Hampshire, Ramsden in Essex, Ramsholt in Suffolk and Ramshorn in Staffordshire. Here's a memory shared by a lady during World War two. "Onions were rarer than gold when we were evacuated to Ayrshire in 1940, but this was no problem as we just went up the banks of the river Afton and picked as much Wild Garlic as we wanted."Early Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula) Common names.... Adder's meat, bloody butchers, goosey ganders, kecklegs, kettle cases and Kite's legs). This reasonably common Orchid can be seen in a variety of habitats including ancient woodland, old banks and chalk downland. Concoctions of this Orchid root used to be given as an aphrodisiac. Robert Turner in Botanologia (1664) wrote that 'enough early purple orchids grew in Cobham Park in Kent to pleasure all the seamen's wives in Rochester' ! The plant was also said to grow beneath the Cross, and the spots on its leaves were drops of blood from Christ when he was crucified. Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea) Common names.....Stinkwort, Wedding cakes, Milkmaids, Brassy buttons, poor mans buttonhole. A familiar wildflower of hedgerows and woodland rides. Apparently in the past, the plant was used to cure stitches in the side and other similar pain.Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon) Common name....Weasel snout. A plant of ancient woods and old hedgerows. Supposed to guard against evil spirits and spells. To end this post, here is the sunken lane down which most of these wildflowers were photographed. I feel very lucky to have such a lovely area to walk as a break from work! (-:

12 comments:

Steve B said...

Wow Jenny, you have a great place to work and walk during lunch. Thanks for showing us.

dog trot farm said...

How lovely Jenny, someday Eve and I are coming for a visit. What a wonderful environment to work in.

Roy said...

Well you couldn't have asked or better Jen. What a nice little lane to be able to walk at lunch times. (Eating sandwich on the hoof??)

Jenny said...

Hi Steve, yes I'm soooo much happier out here at this farm than when we were in town.

Hi Julie, that's a date! Seriously! (-:

Hi Roy, I wondered if anyone would ask about actual eating! I tend to eat while I'm working so that I get a full 1/2 hour outside. (-: I have a great boss (that's his chair to the side of mine.)

Mary said...

Congrats on the job and having a neat walk like that nearby! What a lot of wonderful info on the wildflowers! They have enough common names to confuse anyone.

Eve said...

Perfect Jenny Wren! And you are a wealth of information to boot!!! Thanks for bringing us along!

Shellmo said...

That is lovely that you can spend your lunch hours in that beautiful countryside! Loved that garlic mustard and of course the bluebells! I was going to ask the same question Roy did - glad to know you are getting some nourishment too!

Chris said...

Hi Jenny,
Congrats on your new work and I hope you will enjoy it. It looks like the environment outside the window is very nice and I hope we will soon see flocks of pictures from this nice area.

Quiet Paths said...

What an interesting array of wild flowers. In our dry climate we don't have that many except for deep in the wet woods. Looks like a neat place to work!

Jenny said...

Hi Mary, yes all those common names I think, come from different parts of the country. I have a fabulous book called Flora Britannica which give info on the flowers as well as anecdotes and folklore. Do you know if you have anything similar in the USA?

Hi there Evie, see my comment above as to where I get that info from. Adrian has MANY more books on wildflowers than I do, it's his passion.

Hi Shelley, thanks for asking after the health of my appatite!(-:
That Garlic Mustard is such an unassuming flower until you really get up close and look properly.

Hi Chris, yes, I will try and get some more shots as the season goes along. It really has made lunchtimes great at work! (-:

Hi Christine, do you have a wet wood close to you? Would that be where you would find Trilliums (as in your composition)?

Quiet Paths said...

The Trillium we usually see are up in Glacier Park which is, yes most certainly much more damp than here. However, I am sure that up in the Missions there are Trillium blooming right now not too far from town in the forest.

NatureStop said...

Hi Jenny,
You have a great place to relax during lunch break:)Will be visiting you often.We liked your post