Tuesday 24 June 2014

A profusion of wild flowers and herbs (or 'Why I haven't blogged in ages' !)

Well, it seems the cobwebs have been gathering here.
I've been away for so long that I think I may have forgotten how to use Blogger!

I'm sorry to have abandoned you all - I really didn't mean to - it's just I get so caught up in the 'here and now' that there never seems to be enough time to blog. Still, I'm here, and I'm dusting away busily. There is so much to catch up on - new projects afoot, pony news, that I've been scratching my head for weeks and wondering where on earth to start.
So, for today, I thought I'd show you the reason WHY I spend so much time away from my computer. 
There is so much to see and do outside, that I spend almost every waking moment out under the skies, grateful every moment that I live where I do.
These stone lanes, green woods and steep valleys are just bursting with life. It seems there is more this year than ever before. A walk around the footpaths takes hours as I stop to examine each and every new plant, delighted whenever I find a new one.
Today I took my camera with me, so I could document the abundance of wildflowers.

Herb Robert, Foxglove, Dog Rose, Stonecrop, Water Dropwort (I've a story about that - remind me to tell you one day)  Nettles and Goosegrass.

 Honesty, Hogweed, Wood Woundwort ( my least favourite wild flower - it's foliage is truly stinky) Red Campion, California poppy (must have escaped from a garden) and Feverfew.

Beautifully glowing California Poppies.

 Yarrow, Wood Sage, Spear Thistle, Pig Nut and Wild Oat, and Hedge Bedstraw.

Goatsbeard, with their seed heads the size of an orange!

Bumblebee and Bramble

Wormwood, Tansy, Yarrow flower, Tufted Vetch, Honeysuckle and a yellow vetch - I think it's Meadow Vetchling, but I'm not certain.

The path to the stepping stones is overgrown that we had a job to get down it.

Greater Plantain

And a pause to paddle and play in the river in the mid-day sun. The stepping stones are precarious, but it's lovely to wade across. The river is alive with the sound of whirring wings. Dragonflies and damselflies in every colour imaginable dart and swoop across the water.

And we pass the village pool - river fed, and beautiful, nestled in the valley beside the river.


Here, in the large swathes of wildflowers, left in the rougher corner of the hay meadow, is the plant I've come looking for today: St John's Wort

Golden clumps in amongst the many wild flowers.

 More Wood Woundwort (beautiful mixed in with the golden St John's Wort), White Campion, and, to my excitement, a solitary Wild Valerian plant.


We stopped to look at the Beaver Tree, and the names carved therein. We spent our childhood summers in this tree, the limbs spiralling up like a staircase.

Pennywort flowering in the walls.

Bindweed, Green Alkanet, Speedwell, ivy leaved toadflax, and my most favourite wildflower of all, the Orange Hawkbit.


This is what I brought home with me today.

St John's wort is steeping in oil, and the others are on racks to dry.

Next time I'll show you my new work :)


Kath said...

I'll look forward to that :-)

Bovey Belle said...

Great to see you back, and how exciting about your drying/steeping/using wild flowers and herbs. Something that has always fascinated me too.

The Tufted Vetch is one of my favourite wild flowers. Such a gorgeous colour. I have some amongst the wild flowers I painted on our bedroom fire surround when we first moved here. This surround is about the only thing I ever drew which was improved by the paint and not ruined!

Thank you for the wild flower photos and photos of your beautiful surroundings. Stirs my Devon blood no end!

Virginia said...

Great to have you back! Lovely wildflower photos - the water looked deliciously cool and inviting. How are the ponies?

Danielle Barlow said...

I might have to do the new work in two batches Kath :)

BB - would love to see your painted vetch!

Virginia - ponies are all well, but children are growing tall very fast, and I think times of change are coming :(

Em Parkinson said...

Lovely to hear from you and see all those fabulous flowers. I hate the
smell of Feverfew- makes me gag. Your Black horehound is what I know as Woundwort and I actually cultivate it in the garden! Never noticed the leaves smelling so I'll make sure I don't crush them...

Danielle Barlow said...

I think you are right Em - since I was small we have always called it Stinking horehound, but on looking it up I think it should be Wood Woundwort. I'll change it ;)

Dartford Warbler said...

Woundwort grows all over our garden too and insects love it.

Danielle - it is good to see you back again and I enjoyed the walk through your beautiful Devon countryside.

A St John`s Wort plant has seeded itself in our fruit cage. I would love to know what you are going to do with yours.

sarah said...

So much lavish beauty! I am enchanted by it.

Terra said...

You are surrounded by beauty and I like your wild flower photos. I hope August will see another post from you, I love to hear about your ponies and see your art work. Your blog friend in California.


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