This clematis grows wild in the hedgerows and in the autumn the fluffy seed heads appear – they are known as Old Man’s Beard or traveller’s joy. This wild clematis is a vigorous climber which entwines itself around any convenient nearby support. It is said to do the Devil’s work for him by smothering other plants to death. In this image the clematis has twined itself through a hawthorn and I love how the late afternoon sun catches the seed heads.

Old Man's Beard

Cheltenham borough council have planted 75,000 square metres of wildflowers in the local parks. This particular patch had a mix of seeds which included Flanders poppies to commemorate the centenary of WWI, Ammi majus (Bishops Flower), red flax and cosmos. These urban wildflower meadows are so uplifting to look at and the insects were loving them too. Well done Cheltenham BC – may other councils follow your example!

Wildflowers: Flanders poppies and Ammi majus

This is Echium vulgare or Viper’s Bugloss, a wildflower I grow in my garden because the bees and other insects just love the gorgeous blue flowers! It flowers for ages and self seeds prolifically – the seedlings are easily recognisable when small, so I thin out any in the wrong place to keep to a manageable level. A great addition to a cottage garden.

Wildflower: Echium vulgare ©Lavender Hedge

I bought these three little vases recently and have been looking for an opportunity to use them. I can’t ever remember seeing so many dandelion flowers as there are this year. This image shows the three main phases in the dandelion’s life cycle.

DSC_5701

This is probably my favourite British wild flower. It takes me right back to my childhood when they were a common sight in fields and we used to pick them by the handful and stuff them into jam jars filled with water. I grow these from seed many years ago and they have happily spread themselves around the garden.

Yellow flower: Cowslips, Primula veris

When cowslips and primroses grow in close proximity to one another, they cross pollinate to produce an interesting variation called a false oxlip – in a true oxlip, the flowers droop to one side.

False oxslip

It was quite a challenge photographing this little flower as it is only about 10cms high! Lying on the ground with a cold wind blowing all the flowers around, this was one of those occasions when a swivel screen on the camera would have been useful. Even a little insect had taken refuge inside the flower.

Common dog violet

The wild primrose is pale yellow with a darker yellow centre and is commonly found on banks and in woodland clearings. It’s name means ‘first rose’ and is also known as ‘Easter Rose’, although it is not a member of the rose family. When you see it flowering, it is a sure sign that spring is on the way. The flowers are edible. Easy to grow and will self seed. Perennial, flowers March-April

Wild primrose

The brightly coloured primroses sold in garden centres are cultivars and are treated as annuals.

Annual primroses in use as bedding plants