Posts Tagged Wildflowers

Beautiful Bluebells

Today we visited Otterford Lakes to see the bluebells in full bloom.  As we walked through the woods, you could see the shades of blue on the ground below the dappled trees.

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As we walked further down hill we could see the swans on the lake.

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We walked past the bridge over the lake and up to the higher meadow where there was an absolute carpet of bluebells, really lovely.

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I took some views of the lake as we walked back down.

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Some white narcissus were still blooming.

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The pink Campion flowers were coming out too.

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If you want to visit yourselves, come and stay with us at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

 

 

 

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Lovely Foxgloves

In our back border have sprung up some lovely purple Foxgloves.

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And some more:

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And in close up:

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They look fabulous towering over the fence.  I shall sprinkle the seeds later on and hopefully we will get some more next year.  I just love them!!

see them for  yourself, visit http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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Ox-Eye Daisies

The Leucanthemum vulgare or Ox-Eye Daisy as it is commonly called is growing profusely outside our house.  I love this perennial wildflower that grows among grass.

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The sunny little flower heads bob in the wind and make the outside of the house attractive.

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The hedgerows are continually changing with the wild flowers.  Now the Bluebells have died down we have Cow Parsley, Campian and these Ox-Eye Daisies.  Next will come the Foxgloves and purple Willowherb.  Always something to look forward to.

visit us at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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My two favourite walks

Yesterday a friend, whom we’d not seem for a few years, came to visit us.  It was lovely to see her again, and we were lucky in that the sun shone, even though the wind was cold.  After lunch we took her up to Staple Hill, which is one of my 2 favourite places nearby to go for a walk.

A wonderful tree at Staple Hill

Staple Hill is one of the highest places in the Blackdown Hills, Somerset, England and on a fine day it is said you can see right over to Wales. 

 From there we got back in the car and headed the short distance to Otterhead Lakes at Otterford.  At this time of year the bluebells are out in force and there are carpets of blue in the woods.

 English native bluebells have flowers on one side only and droop to the side.  Unfortunately there has been an influx of spanish bluebells in garden centres and these have flowers all the way round.  Luckily in established woodland the bluebells are all native English ones.

 We also spotted some wild garlic with pretty little white flowers and lots of ferns growing up poised ready to unfurl as these ones below.

It’s a lovely walk down to the first lake, then along  a footpath by the side of a stream, across a footbridge and then eventually the path comes out by the second lake.  We met a couple of guys walking their dogs and they took a photo of all 3 of us on the footbridge.

 

The footbridge at Otterhead Lakes

You can see we are well wrapped up as it was quite chilly yesterday, but it is a lovely spot for a walk, really beautiful with all those bluebells.

 If you want to visit Staple Hill or Otterhead Lakes and stay at our B&B, visit us at www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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Invasion in the paddock

We’ve had an invasion in the paddock.  An invasion of Himalyan Balsam plant, which grows tall, over 6 feet tall, and has a pretty pink flower.  The bees love it as they are drawn to the sweet nectar. So we let them have their fill of it.

The pink flowers of Himalyan Balsam

However, it is a weed, not just a weed but a viscous thug of a weed. It spreads and will take over a patch of land. When the flowers go to seed, the seed pods burst and spread the seeds up to 7 metres or 21 feet, so the following year encroaching on more land.

Himalyan Balsam is said to be as much of a nuisance as Japanese Knotweed and needs to be destroyed.  So one afternoon this week, Neil and I went down to the bottom of the paddock and pulled up all the Himalyan Balsam (it is quite shallow rooted) and put on a bonfire.  The next day Neil set light to it all.

Neil with his bonfire August 2011

The bonfire smouldered and smoked for over a day, but eventually that was the end of the Himalyan Balsam for another summer.

see our website www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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Sunflowers

Ah Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done;”

so starts the poem by William Blake about sunflowers. 

Last year we grew some sunflowers from seed.  They were quite successful and produced big heads.  When they died down I took the seeds and fed them to the chickens.  Unbeknown to us, the chooks didn’t eat them all but left some on the ground.  When we moved the chicken run, these seeds were left to germinate all on their own, and this year they have produced lovely flowers amongst all the other wildflowers (weeds!) that have grown up in the paddock where the chickens used to be.

sunflowers in the paddock August 2011

What is ironic is that the sunflowers I have grown from seed this year are a pathetic 2 feet tall and nowhere near flowering.

sunflower in the paddock August 2011

So you know what I am going to do later on this year when these flowers have died back – I am going to sprinkle the seeds all round the wild part of the paddock, and with any luck next year I will have a field of sunflowers!!

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Learning about hedgerow flowers

Driving along the country lanes the other day with a car full of ladies, I commented on the lovely show of wild purple foxgloves in the hedgerows.  “They’re not foxgloves, they’re Willowherb” retorted a lady alot older and wiser than me!!.  We stopped the car to get a closer look and what looked like foxgloves from a distance was in fact something quite different.  Here is a close up of Willowherb!

Willowherb growing in the hedgerows July 2011

With Willowherb the flowers grow all the way round and forms spikes of purple flowers.  With wild foxgloves the purple flowers are just on one side.  Here is a field of wild foxgloves.

A field of wild foxgloves July 2011

So obviously we have a lot to learn about the wildflowers of the countryside before we can call ourselves  proper country folk.  Currently our status is still “white settlers from the East”  according to what one local farmer called us! I guess  it will take another 20 years or so before we become “country folk”.

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