Sunday, 11 April 2010

I'm voting for Flower Power

I feel like a break from all the serious stuff about the General Election, and to show you that Spring really has arrived here in Budleigh Salterton I thought you might like to admire some pictures. You see, I'm really more into flower power than political power.

In the garden the camellias are looking splendid, and the forsythia is putting on its usual reliable display of bright yellow, trying to rival the daffodils.

And close up that glowing lipstick red of the camellia blooms is so exotically seductive...

while the daffodils are a real picture everywhere. Though some annoying beastie has been nibbling bits from the flowers. Rabbits, squirrels or slugs I suppose.

But what I find really charming are the piercing blue windflowers which I look out for at this time of year as I walk to Budleigh through the wooded green at the top of West Hill.

It's a pretty little grassy patch with trees, all kinds of wild flowers and toadstools - depending on the weather and season - but the windflowers are catching my eye at the moment.

In the few years that I've been living here they seem to have multiplied, and from what I've read about their habit there's every chance that eventually the area could be carpeted with their lilac blue. But they bloom for only a month. Then later we'll have the bluebells.

It's no surprise to me that on old maps this area of Budleigh Salterton where I live is called Paradise.

Their botanic name is Anemone Nemorosa, and I learn from the excellent site at that the English name of this attractive flower is derived from the Greek word for 'wind' (Anemous), mainly because the plant blooms in elevated places, where the air currents can be quite strong.

The Anemone Nemorosa is a very resistant plant which can grow even in the harshest of conditions. As well as windflower it's also known as wood anemone, thimbleweed or even smell fox, but windflower is the most popular.

Although quite beautiful in appearance, the flower, measuring between 5 to 15 cm in height can actually be poisonous. In the wild, the flowers are likely to be white but depending on the environment they can be pink, blue and even lilac. The plant spreads quickly and can form large colonies if the soil is good enough, moist soils being usually preferred.

The Anemone Nemorosa is recognized by some people as a medicinal plant. However some botanists claim that it's harmful, while others say that it helps alleviate toothaches, fever, gout or rheumatism if prepared correctly.

Useful or not, our steadily increasing clumps of Anemone Nemorosa are a cheerful sign of better weather on the way, and I look forward to seeing more and more of those lilac blue flowers in the grass of Budleigh's West Hill green.

And suddenly I vaguely feel that those spring colours of red and yellow, blue and green have some sort of connection with what's happening on 6 May. Such a shame that even in Paradise the real world has to intrude.

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