It’s mid June. The gorse and the whitethorn, once the dominant colours in our spring landscape, have come and gone. The last of the bluebells, primroses and the wild garlic are fading fast. By the end of the month, the boreens will be heady with fuchsia and bramble flowers, and soon after that they will be lined with ubiquitous montbretia.
So this is the early summer interregnum – we think of it as the time of the hedgerow flowers. Every day we discover new delights peeping out at us from among the ferns in the ditches and from the ivy-covered stone walls. Not all are wild, or native – it can be hard to distinguish when a planted hedge has gone wild, or a wild plant has turned into a hedge. Some of the flowers overwhelm – as with rapeseed that has colonised a lane or ox-eye daisies massed along a footpath.
But most hedgerows, like a good novel, call for close reading. It’s easy to be aware that they are alive with colours and shapes, but stopping to really look carries the most reward, even as it slows down the pace of our regular walk.
The photographs in this collection were all taken this week. I can’t name them all but I know they include herb robert, campion, foxglove, speedwell, honeysuckle, clover, thistle, marsh orchid, field roses, buttercup, ragwort, navelwort (penny pies). If you can identify others, dear reader, please do!
We weren’t the only ones interested in this bounty.
I kept the sweetest discovery until last. in this age of bred-to-last-and-look-right strawberries, what a thrill to come across a few precious wild ones and wander home with that real, glorious sweetness in my mouth.