I spent some time in the Sussex country village of Lindfield this weekend a short car’s journey away from my home town of Lewes, the country town for East Sussex. This beautiful village with its Lime Tree lined High Street, with its Eleventh Century church and many Medieval and Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century houses was looking perfect in the late July sunshine.
In the jungle of wild flowers there is also a bed of what I have always called Queen Anne’ lace which others call Cowparsnip and others confuse with Giant Hogweed…..I never knew which is which even though one is a harmless relative of our domesticated root vegetables, others are poisonous and another one has a deadly sting.
Whichever this is, its white umbels look fine against the drifting clouds as does the Large Bindweed or Convolvulus, England’s largest wild flower, a pest in the garden but magnificent in its natural setting.
Far away from its original home but now an honorary long term resident here in England is the Oxford Ragwort, or Senecio squalides, which, at Chailly, is growing around the car park and off along the footpaths indicating it preferred method of travel.
It was introduced as an elegant and exotic rarety into the Oxford Botanic Garden some time between 1700 and 1719 and is said to have demonstrated relatively quickly that is was no shrinking violet. Its seeds flew over the wall and travelled down the roads of England until the invention of the railway which then aided its spread across the nation. It is very welcome here with its optimistic golden petals announcing the dog days of the English summer.
Wake me up if I am dreaming but it might just be possible that England really is having a glorious Summer after all. Even my vegetables are hinting that harvest time is not going to be as disappointing as I expected and that it may not be that far away either.
I hope the weekend was as good for the rest of you wherever you live.