Saturday 8 August 2015

Elderflower Time

In the last few days of spring, Milton Country Park is festooned with white flowers for the fourth and final time in the season.

Elderflowers are clearly visible in the bushes and trees lining the path
By Hall's Pond - 15 June 2015

I have a natural tendency to wait and see if anything better comes along and when it came to photographing the elderflowers, I waited.  There seemed every reason to wait as there was plenty of the flowers in the park: almost every path had its fair share of elder bushes and there were at least two thickets of the plants in the northern part of the park.  There was always a reason not to take the photograph: the flowers were not fully out; the light was wrong; it was raining...  In the end, I almost waited too long.  The image above nicely captures the prominent white flowers lining a path at the south eastern end of Hall's Pond.  But however much I like this photograph, I am aware I did not really capture the spectacle of an elder bush covered in great plates of white flowers.

Bank of flowering hemlock in front of hedge and willow tree stump at southern end  of park
Southern End of Park - 17 June 2015

The other plant contributing to the white in the park was hemlock.  This tall white flower formed an impressive border along two sides of Remembrance Meadow.  There were also very large clumps of the plant on the meadows to the south of Remembrance Meadow.  It is these latter flowers that are shown here.

Dog Roses


Bush of Dog Roses
Bush of Dog Roses - 9 June 2015

Dog roses are one of those plants which I describe as fugitive from the camera.  By this I mean that from a distance a bush will appear covered by near confluent blossom; but, move closer so the bush fills a significant portion of the frame and the flowers look sparse and insignificant.  This bush on the access road at the southern end of the park seemed at first sight quite pink, but on closer inspection shows large areas of green between the blooms.

Bush of dog roses besides path
Southern End of Park - 11 June 2015

Probably the best display of these roses was on the access road at the southern end of the park shown in the first of these two images.  I have chosen this view taken along the southernmost path in the park for a wider view as it shows the typical park situation with the roses alongside a path.

The Elephant in the Living Room

Path through woods with thick growth of nettles on either side
Woodland Path - 17 June 2015

After grass, the nettle must be by far the most common plant in the park.  Despite its well known importance to insects (40 species including the Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies),  it must be one of the least loved and least photographed of all plants.  We know it is important, but do not want a picture of it!  Even its best friends would not call it picturesque, and I certainly struggled to find a picture that was remotely interesting.  This path in the woods at the southern end of the park is lined on both sides by a large bank of nettles.  

Single stem of woundwort in centre of nettle bed
Nettle Bed - 16 June 2015

Nettles do tend to smother everything else.  But I found this single stem of woundwort in the centre of quite an extensive bed of nettles.  It is the only example of woundwort that I have seen in the park.


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