Wildflowers Not Weeds

#30DaysWild no 10. Today our moment of wildness fitted in with a covid jab. While waiting the obligatory 15 mins post jab, Maggie enjoyed the ‘weeds’ at Crediton leisure centre.

This one, she’s pretty certain, used to grow in the veg patch of the garden where she was a child. It was called shepherd’s purse, presumably named after the seed heads. And it got her thinking how, if we don’t tell kids what the flower names are, we lose part of our long-passed-down culture. These plants just become tagged ‘weed’ and are usually ignored or sprayed out without a second thought.

OK, so maybe there aren’t so many shepherds around these days, or at least not ones that travel with their flocks, with a purse slung around their person. And maybe Devon isn’t really shepherd country, compared to the Sussex downs, where Maggie grew up. These days, we’re more likely to think of a shepherd’s hut as quirky upmarket holiday accommodation.

But the the common names still have a resonance with bygone rural English life, and that’s worth maintaining.

It was also lovely to see the grass left uncut around the Crediton Leisure Centre, where the vaccination programme was being rolled out. Doubtless they’ll cut it before too long, but at present the buttercups are being allowed to flower and it looks very pretty. Wildness is found in all sorts of places, and we need to be able to experience it, even in urban settings.

Previously on #30DaysWild

This time in 2020 we were mowing the turbine walk here at Wheatland Farm. It has already had a first cut this year.

This time in 2010: We were admiring the super tall marsh thistles and the bees that so love them. Often you can see several different bumblebee species on the same marsh thistle. This year things are a bit later and the thistles aren’t yet in flower. at Wheatland Farm. They are springing up in the meadow in front of the eco lodges though. We keep them in check on the paths, and stop them getting out of control by patch mowing (especially we target creeping thistle) but beyond that we see them as wildflowers rather than weeds, supporting insects in the summer and birds (with the seeds) as autumn draws in.

This time in 2018: The orchids were out on Popehouse Moor. This year, we’re seeing flower stalks, but no strong display yet, due to the cold wet May we had.

This time in 2017: We were trying out our very own Wheatland Farm cider – a sparklingly good brew! Talking of sparkling, it will be time to make some elderflower champagne soon.