Wednesday, 1 June 2016

June blossoms

Twelve Months of Flowers:  June    Jacob van Huysum
© Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

"A spell of warm sunny weather early this month means that along the lanes, every hedgerow, bush and tree looks as if it is about to burst; and as I stare intently at one hawthorn I can almost see the foliage growing outwards by the minute.  Surely, if this fine weather continues, the trunks, branches and twigs will be unable to contain the green force within, and will simply explode.

On a warm muggy evening, the volcano-like silhouette of Brent Knoll is bathed in yellow sunshine as it pokes through horizontal fingers of cloud.  Opposite, towards Glastonbury Tor, a thick layer of grey fills half the sky, its folds and pleats as untidy as a teenager's duvet.  A broad, squat section of rainbow is just visible in the gap between the cloud base and the distant Mendip Hills, its layered bands of colour illuminating the sky.

…At this time of year, the walls around the parish are suddenly ablaze with a striking flower, red valerian, whose colour and texture remind me of something out of a Laura Ashley catalogue.  For a few weeks, from mid-June to mid-July, this attractive and conspicuous plant is thriving.  It may be called red, but in truth it is a deep pink:…occasionally, a striking snow-white variant appears among its neighbouring blooms.

Like so many of our wall-loving plants, red valerian is an immigrant, originally brought to Britain from the Mediterranean during Tudor times, to adorn rockeries in ornamental gardens.  After a couple of hundred years it managed to escape from confinement, and has since spread across much of England and Wales, though its stronghold remains here in the West Country
.….the stone itself is not a natural feature of the local landscape, but was brought here from the nearby Mendips."

Wild Hares and Hummingbirds  Stephen Moss

(Something to look forward to? if you are having torrential rain in your part of the world.) 

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