Saturday 22 August 2015

Summer Flowers

The arrival of summer does not bring any great change in Milton Country Park.  The appearance of the park continues to slowly evolve as new flowers come out and the earlier blossom turns to seed or disappears completely. 

In this post, I return to two issues that have cropped up a number of times previously: short lived flowers and the unreliability of my memory. 

Cultivated red poppies growing on bare earth beside access road
Access Road - 24 June 2015

I start the post with one of those surprises that turn up from time to time: a stand of poppies.  These were growing on the access road at the southern edge of the park. 



Bench  by path surrounded by flowering brambles
North Side of Park - 29 June 2015
Brambles are one of those flowers which are fragile and short lived: one heavy shower of rain ruined most of the flowers that were out at the time, though, it did not appear they would have lasted more than a day or two anyway.  Which led me to wonder what is the advantage to the plant to produce such ephemeral flowers?  Articles on the web tell me that the bramble is either self or insect  pollinated. If it is insect pollinated, then would it not be better for the flower to be out for as long as possible so as to have the best chance of attracting a bee?

A lot of the brambles in the park are in the wooded areas, where they stifle everything but do not flower at all.  Elsewhere the biggest single concentration of these bushes is at the north end of the park where this photograph was taken.

Unreliable Memory or Different Years?


Bank of convolvulus in flower
Edge of Deep Water - 15 July 2015
My impression from previous years is that, in a couple of places in the park,  there was massed growth of convolvulus covered with large white flowers.  There was certainly large masses of bindweed, but the flowers were far sparser than I had imagined.  Is this a bad season for these flowers?  Or is it just the case that when we look at a plant in flower, we see the flowers and mentally ignore the rest of the plants?  This is the reason why so many photographs of gardens and wild flower meadows are so disappointing: we 'see' only the flowers, but the camera dutifully records all the grass, bushes and bare earth between them.  So what appeared a mass of colours turns out in the photograph as a few insignificant coloured spots in a see of green. So, maybe, the convolvulus flowers were never that plentiful in the first place and its my perception that has changed.

Purple loosestrife overlooking Dickerson's Pit
Dickerson's Pit - 21 July 2015
In a different way, my expectation was faulty with regard to purple loosestrife.  I remembered a lot of it in the park, but at first there did not seem to be much about.  However, as time has gone on, more and more has appeared, and accumulated, as unlike the bramble, the flowers remain colourful for quite a while.  This picture of purple loosestrife was taken in almost exactly the same spot as I photographed yellow irises earlier in the year (see post 1 August - After the May Flower ) - in fact you can see the iris leaves in the picture. 

Rosebay willowherb on banks of 13th Public Drain
13th Public Drain - 30 June 2015
One place where my memory is not faulty is the display of rosebay willowherb on the banks of the 13th Public Drain.  This display is exactly how I remembered it, although I thought it was a little later in the year.



Ragwort growing amonst piles of wood chippings
Path to Fen Road Exit - 15 July 2015
Ragwort is another of those flowers that prior to this project I had taken no notice of: it probably just added to a general impression of yellow and purple during July.  It is everywhere in the park.  I have chosen to use this picture of it flourishing amongst the piles of wood chippings besides the path to the Fen Road exit.  The yellow flower seems to go well with the light brown of the chippings, and I am always drawn to images of nature colonising a hostile environment.

NEXT: Fruitful Promise


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