Wildflowers and birthdays

My flower obsession is growing. I was just thinking about a book presenting a different flower each day and here you are, I found it! It is “The floral birthday book” by Bernard F. Carter published by Bloomsbury Books in London. Charity shop find for £3. Beautifully illustrated month by month, with a flower, tree or a plant illustration and a little poem for each day. IMG_3969   IMG_3971     IMG_3990 My birthday flower (27th of March) is peppermint which symbolises cordiality. And today’s flower is speedwell which says “You are my divinity”. We all know the language of flowers, right? IMG_3974 My another latest purchase was a box of 100 flower postcards from Royal Horticultural Society. It is a beautiful set of botanical images from the RHS Lindley Libraries, the earliest dating from the late 17th century.

IMG_3976      IMG_3977      IMG_3989 My last week cycle to the woodlands happened on the sunny and breezy day and here are the flowers I snapped away.

Tulips and dandelions
Pink honesty
Pink honesty
Periwinkle oxyloba
Dusky cranesbill
Dusky cranesbill or mourning widow


Bleeding heart
Bleeding heart aka lady-in-the-bath
Borage or starflower
Lily of the valley
Lily of the valley
Cuckoo flower
Herb Robert
Herb Robert aka Death came quickly
White dead nettle
White dead nettle
Red campion
Red campion
Barrenwort aka horny goat weed
Barrenwort aka horny goat weed

Again, credit to Keith Jones from www.seasonalwildflowers.com who helped me to identify epimedium known also as barrenwort, bishop’s hat, fairy wings and mentioned already horny goat weed. Just love those names!

Another thank you goes to Jim Gardner from thatscurious.com  for correcting me on the coralroot flower which I mistankenly named a cuckooflower.  Both plants come from cabbage family but differ in flower and leaves shapes. Coralroot flower is quite rare in UK so I am very happy it grows here in my local neck of woods.

I have bought a couple of books about wildflowers identification, full of info and beautiful botanical illustrations. It is “The Wild Flower Key” by Francis Rose and “The Wild Flowers of the British Isles” by David Streeter. I grew up in the country so I recognise a lot of plants and flowers but either forgot their names or never learnt them at all. Those books make a perfect bedtime read for me and there is so much to learn and I am so up for it.


Wild flowers spotting in London

Another sunny and breezy day in London. I went for a quick look around in my favourite woodlands once my boyfriend was having a haircut. I entered through the All Saints church gate to walk through the cemetery and what was my joy to discover lilies of the valley growing in the shady spot. I must have missed them before as I walked there many times. They have got their flower buds still closed but looking very promising. Sadly, didn’t get a good shot with my phone.

Here are today’s discoveries.

Wild strawberry
Wild strawberry
Lily of the valley
Lily of the valley
Wild garlic
Wild garlic
Lords and ladies
Lords and ladies or cuckoo pint
Greater celandine
Greater celandine
Cow parsley or Queen Anne's lace
Cow parsley
White honesty flower
White honesty flower
Garlic mustard
Garlic mustard
Cleavers aka sticky willy
Cleavers aka sticky willy
White narcissus
White narcissus
White fritilaria
White fritillaria
Lesser calendine
Lesser celandine
Red campion
Red campion
Very pretty, couldn't identify
Spring starflower
Tortoiseshell in the nettles
Tortoiseshell in the nettles

I have contacted Keith Jone after looking at his website www.seasonalwildflowers.com and he helped me to identify the spring starflower. His website is filled with all the info and beautiful photos of wildflowers month by month. Please, have a look at it if you like wildflowers and want to know more.

I just ordered some books about identifying wild flowers and can’t wait to start reading and taking them with me on my park walks.

Today’s flower star. Bluebell, the national treasure.

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?

Today’s flower star. Fritillaria aka snake’s head flower

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.

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. IMG_3771

IMG_3766 IMG_3777 IMG_3781



IMG_3796 IMG_3802 IMG_3805 IMG_3803

Spring cycle to London Wetland

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.














Coffee and rose petals body peeling

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!

Looking for violets in London

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.