Monday, 27 June 2011
Our lane is sporting its full summer clothing; grasses have all gone to seed, elderflowers cover the bushes and some of the trees have wild roses growing high into the branches.
But without a doubt, the plant which is the most common is the Rosebay Willowherb (epilobioum). In the early nineteen hundreds this plant was quite rare in the UK and was much prized in Victorian herbaceous borders. But it is a sturdy grower and produced a huge number of seeds so inevitably it wasn't long before it began to colonise hedgerows.
When is a weed not a weed? Well, as I read in a book the other day - if a cabbage plant came up in the middle of your rose garden you would pull it up as a weed, but if it came up in the middle of the cabbage patch then you would nurture it.
I guess the Rosebay's final downfall came at the end of the Second World War when all the bomb sites in London and throughout Europe became covered in it and it is now found even above the Arctic Circle. So there you have it - it is too common and we don't want it any more.
That is a pity because it supports the caterpillars of the Elephant Hawk Moth and the Froghopper enjoys a munch at its leaves.
Would I plant it in my garden border? Probably not because it would take over, but you have to agree it is a rather pretty plant.
On the chick front - I had another go at taking a photo but Mrs Hen is adamant that I am getting nowhere near them. I love Heather's description (ragged old blogger on my side bar) of the mother hen as "Attila the Hen!"