When you go to any Mediterranean country in the Spring, you are aghast at the colour of the wild flowers - the reds, blues and yellows that paint the hillsides. Our English wildflowers are
something different, as befits our more temperate climate. Their paler colours, their subtlety - they blow me over every year in late May.
Yesterday, in spite of our rule never to go out on a Bank Holiday weekend, we drove through Wensleydale to Ravenstonedale for lunch at our favourite restaurant The Black Swan. En route, as always, we stopped and had a walk with Tess at Cotter Force. It is soon Appleby Horse Fair week and all along the sides of the road Travellers' horses were tethered, enjoying the lush grass. In places we were held up by horse-pulled bow topped caravans making their way there. And all along the way we were overtaken by scores of middle-aged bikers enjoying the open road on their high-powered motor bikes (a whole generation of Mr. Toads!), so the quarter mile walk from the road down to Cotter Force was a little haven of peace and quiet on the journey.
It was also a revelation of wildflowers. That so many can grow in profusion along the side of the stream in such a short distance just fills me with joy at our wonderful countryside.
So here for you today is a celebration of English Wildflowers. Apart from the top two, which we taken this morning in our paddock, all of these flowers were growing in that quarter mile stretch in their thousands. Enjoy.
From the top: Our English buttercup meadow.
Sorrel in the meadow.
Cow parsley (motherdie)
Veronica speedwell (birds' eye)
Geranium (herb Robert)