I could smell the new growth while walking along the narrow path. Underfoot was dry, but there had been a slight rainfall during the night, maybe that's why the fresh aroma was present. Usually the air is moving, either very slightly or a fully blown gale and all one can smell is the mixture of everything all mixed together in that undefinable stench present in most cities. So being able to appreciate the smell of the earth and plants was a welcome Springtime relief.
This year Spring has been very long. In February, flowers began appearing that are not normally seen until April. I even had a glimpse of a few bluebells in one of the woods I hiked through and was quite surprised. Then there are the daisies, more than I have ever seen. They are all over the place. It's like an invasion of the little flowers, maybe they had no place else to go this year and decided to take Spring break in England.
March arrived and everything was put on hold for a month, the cold returned and the wind never ceased. By mid April the bluebells were popping up everywhere, usually I don't see these until mid May.
For this year's Spring post I wanted to capture the newness of the season. The rebirth after the death blow of winter. I had to ask about the flowers because to me a flower is a flower, what it's named is normally something I don't bother about, except for a few poisonous ones that I don't want to touch by accident.
Cow Parsley is one of the plants that covers a lot of ground in the park I use for exercise. It grows quite high and I wouldn't touch it with my hands at first because there is another plant that look similar and is quite nasty. Well, it turns out Cow Parsley is okay, so I'm not fussed now to walk through it when off trail. The flowery lot call it Anthriscus sylvestris: it's herbaceous, short-lived, perennial and grows just about everywhere in this part of the world.
Another plant I am very careful around are Nettles. They sting like crazy and will raise welts on whatever part of your body they touch. Apparently you can make a tea from them. Go ahead, you do it, I refuse to touch the stuff no matter what form it is in. Another plant is supposed to be near Nettles, named the Dock. It's leaves are an anti-dote to the stingers. Rub the leaf over the welts and they stop stinging and go down. Trouble is the Dock leaf is now not often around, so my sleeves are rolled down and I normally try to keep my hands above the plant. I've seen Nettles grow to over 6 feet high.
Alkanet (on the left above), at first looks a bit like a nettle, but the leaves are not the same, does not sting and has a bright blue flower. From the root people have produced a bright red dye for millennia. You can mix it with oil for wood stain. Others use it for lipstick and rouge. I can only assume that clothing gets the red treatment as well, because the dye has to be mixed with oil or alcohol, it is not water soluable. Evidentely Alkanet is also a food in India (wonder if it turns your tongue bright red).
Right, that's it for flora. I am now back in normal mode, because Spring is also the time of refreshment for a lot of things, including me.
. . . . . . .
From here all I want is the warmth of summer.
May 08, 2019
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