I am just sitting at my desk with the window widely open and listening to birds’ chirps and singings. It has been the warmest day so far reaching scorching 25 degrees in London, in April. Tomorrow, is however back to normal.
I went on another cycle to the beautiful woods of Wimbledon Common thinking Londoners are so lucky to have those green areas on their doorstep. Trees are slowly getting greener but still lots of bare branches make birds spotting much easier. There is a skylark protection area with lots of black crows residing there as well.
Wildflowers spotting included cowslips, red dead nettles, dandelions and our today’s star, bluebell. It has been UK’s favourite wild flower for years. Violet-blue or white bell shaped flowers with gently curved up petals are hanging gracefully on the long stems. They are very popular and grow even in our little communal garden. The most spectacular are bluebell woods with the carpets of flowers indicating the ancient woods.
Thinking of my favourite spring wildflower, I’d probably say, violet.
Do you have a favourite?
Continuing the spring flowers theme, I accidentally saw Gardener’s World program on TV which featured today’s flower star. How pleased I was to discover a quite plenty of it amongst other wild spring flowers in my favourite local woodlands of Bishop’s Park, here in London, South West of the River. it is great seeing so many wild flowers blooming in this city’s green space.
My boyfriend asked me today so why do you like flowers?
I answered I never asked myself this question.
So why do you write this blog?
To kill time.
Meanwhile, in the woods daffodils are sadly slowly fading. I spotted yellow cowslips next to the back gate of the Walled Garden. One wood anemone. In another place, I call it An Island, white spring snowflakes. More and more dandelions (I picked few leaves, I am yet to make a salad!) and nation’s favourite bluebells start appearing. Lots of wild boar’s garlic and hairy green alkanets with tiny striking blue flowers. But, wait what is this purple checkered bell? As I walked along the main path, I was seeing more and more of them poking through greenery, nodding their heads on the long stems. Leaves are dark green, long and narrow. Quite windy day didn’t make photographing an easy task. Flower were shaking and constantly blurring in the picture.
Fritillary aka snakes’s head flower belongs to the lily family. Called snake’s head flowers thanks to its checkerboard patterns, they come in all shades of purple or pure white. The closed seems to resemble the mentioned reptilian’s head. Flowers grow happy in the damp places and can be planted in the garden.
I found a botanical drawing of it in my RHS diary and now I got few photos to share with you. Once taking pictures, I noticed a young couple and an elderly woman stopped to look at them too.
I cycled today to Wetland Centre in Barnes, South West London, just 15-20 minutes cycling from my home. Wetland Centre is home to many birds living and nesting across the waters, ponds and gardens. I was obviously looking for the flowers and plants as well, but the trees are still bare and just some of them started to get green like birch or willows.
My first route was less populated south side, starting off with the lagoon it was a great walk around the pond, past the bats’ place and back to the courtyard. From there, I took the other side of the centre which got really busy around lunch time. I just wandered around spotting a pair of black swans in the Asian garden, a gracious yet solitary white swan and finally finished the walk at the the otters place. Promised few photos to my boyfriend, he knows why.
I have bought those dried rose petals some time ago and they have been patiently waiting in the jar to be put finally into use. They are great way of perfuming and adding the colour to your DIY beauty face masks or body scrubs. Best would be hand picked in your own garden. I got mines from the garden centre, here in London and they are quite aromatic and crisp, good enough for grinding into powder.
Here comes the challenge. If you are a one happy owner of the electric herb grinder, you are done with it, otherwise a regular pestle and mortar would do, although it won’t be very fine, which is still ok.
Start by mixing together 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds and about the double amount of granulated sugar. I found the caster variety too small granules and melting too fast after adding the carrier oil like almond oil. Last come essential oils, just 1-2 drops of Rose absolute and optionally, just one drop of neroli dilution.
I like the pinky hues. Can’t wait to use it!
I have read on someone’s Facebook wall that violets have flowered. They are one of my favourites of the early spring. They usually appear in the same place every year so I went to check on the last year spot near home and there they were, beautiful, tiny, purple flower heads. Then, off on my bike I cycled across the River Thames towards Bishop’s Park. I found few more violet spots just before entering Fulham Palace area. There they were, popping dots of colour in the greenery and the shades of bushes and shrubs. I really like their round green leaves complementing the flowers which smell sweetly and somehow fleetingly.
Violet is known to have a ‘flirty’ scent as its fragrance comes and goes. Ionone is present in the flowers, which turns off the ability for humans to smell the fragrant compound for moments at a time. (Wikipedia)
Aren’t they pretty little things?
So nice to see more colour and people appearing in the nature. Plus, you can always take a nap on the sunny bench, just like me and some other older man who actually have taken my favourite bench. I found another one outside the Walled Garden. Funnily enough, when unlocking my bike on my return home, I saw him leaving the premises with kind of hazy look on his face.
Are you enjoying any spring nature outings? Even in the city you can find little green oasis where you can escape and recharge your batteries. Reach out.