Trip to Pokrzywna

My short break in Poland is coming to an end. I have stayed for a week in the country visiting my parents and family. The weather has remained quite cool and grey over the last few days but today there was a glorious sunshine and blue skies and we tried to make the most of it. I regret not bringing my Canon with my and had to use my phone to take any photos. Pokrzywna is a small town in Opawskie Mountains close to the Czech border. I remember staying over there few years back with my then boyfriend in one of the cute wooden houses on the steep hill. We had a fire place inside with plenty of the chopped up logs and the owners kept some peacocks and other birds as an attraction. I think the place was called Panama. Today we wandered around the fishery and the flood gate. The water in the stream was clear and very cold, what a relief must bring in summer. We shall be back then. Tomorrow I have got an early flight to London so thank goodness for the clocks going back!

  
   
    
 

Late summer on its way to autumn

Today, first time after the summer break, I finally cycled to my favourite Bishop’s Park in London. I nipped into the Fulham Palace for a drink and visited the museum shop  where I bought a couple of beautiful botanical postcards by a London artist Rosemary Lindsay.  Then I went for a walk around the Walled Garden which looks lush and green. Lots of flowers like cosmos and zinnias are in full bloom swaying in the gentle breeze. There are pumpkins and courgettes ripening amongst the greenery. I have bought some tomatoes and sweet smelling basil from the garden barrel. They were also selling potatoes, kale and some other herbs all grown and harvested in the garden.

I set out today to think about the seasons changing and was wondering if I could see any autumnal hints. In the woodlands I spotted the glossy rose hips and some popping reds of lords and ladies seed capsules. Some wildflowers went into the seeds by now, but still lots of them flower in the meadow area. Late summer makes you appreciate the variety and the brightness of the colours. Soon they will all be dimmed and slightly burnt in the autumnal light.

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Summer’s nearly here!

Here we are, mid-year in June. What a sweet month is is, filled with long sunny days, fragrant of roses, acacia and elderflowers, buzzing with bees. Makes you think about holiday trips and some exciting adventures ahead! It is only two weeks until Summer Solstice when we can enjoy the longest day of the year and summer will be in full swing by then. Time to appreciate this season’s abundance and bask in the glorious sun rays.

Oxeye daisy
Oxeye daisy
Cornflower
Cornflower aka bachelor’s button
Poppy
Poppy
Bittersweet nightshade
Bittersweet nightshade
Dog rose
Dog rose
Common mallow
Common mallow
Ragged robin
Ragged robin
Fumitory
Fumitory
Knapweed
Knapweed
White campion
White campion
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Stinking iris
Bindweed
Bindweed
Birdsfoot trefoil
Birdsfoot trefoil
St. John's wort
St. John’s wort
Goat's beard
Goat’s beard
Common vetch
Common vetch
Spreading harebell
Spreading harebell
Ribwort plantain
Ribwort plantain
Cotton thistle
Cotton thistle
False acacia
False acacia
Peacock butterfly
Peacock butterfly
Speckled wood butterly
Speckled wood butterfly
Damselfly
Damselfly
Lavender
Lavender
Mullberries
Mulberries

Lavender buds are starting opening up and I can’t wait to pick some of them and make lavender macerated oil. I have made rose petals oil but will write a separate post about roses and share some pictures as well. In the “Floral book of birthdays” June as month is entirely dedicated to roses. Lucky those born in June, my 2 nephews including!

Enjoying May Bank Holiday

Early May Bank Holiday in UK sees many Londoners fleeting the city and I was surprised how few people I saw during my usual walk in the woodlands by the River Thames.

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Thames from Putney Bridge

My route started with crossing the Putney Bridge and then into the All Saints cemetery where I already have discovered plenty of flowers like geraniums, columbines, bluebells, rose bushes and lily of the valleys of course.

Pink and white lilacs are in full bloom, elderflowers are just starting to open out. Dandelions are slowly changing their heads into fluffy spheres and I cannot forget my childhood game which we called “grandpa or grandma”. If in one simple blow all the “hair”was gone, you would have grandpa, if any left – grandma. Obviously, you had to make your guess beforehand and see if you were right. Oh, happy days.

I really like all the English common, colloquial names of plants and flowers. They are so accurate and funny. I am writing them down in my notebook and also comparing with Polish language. My plant identification adventure continues.

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Columbine or granny’s bonnet

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White lilac
Red valerian
Red valerian or kiss-me-quick
Woodruff or wild baby's breath
Cleavers
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Red campions
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White small butterfly
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Pink bluebell
White comfrey
White comfrey
Dandelion head
Dandelion head
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Rock or Bulgarian geranium
Ribwort
Ribwort
Lily of the valley
Lily of the valley
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White honesty and green alkanets
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White forget-me-not
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Golden bells daffodils
German speedwell
German speedwell
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Cheeky
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First elderflower
Buttercup
Buttercup
Rosebud
Rosebud

A quick update from today’s walk: park was full of families and kids hanging out in the woods. And not only flowers spotting happened today but also celebrity spotting when I saw sir Mick Jagger walking into Fulham Palace courtyard! I ventured inside as well and met him again in the museum shop. Was completely starstruck to ask him for a selfie!

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

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Bleeding heart
Bleeding heart aka lady-in-the-bath
Borage
Borage or starflower
Lily of the valley
Lily of the valley
Cuckoo flower
Coralroot
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.

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.

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Thinking of my favourite spring wildflower, I’d probably say, violet.

Do you have a favourite?