The flowers that bloom in the spring

Wood anemone Anemone nemorosa (c) Mark Hamblin/2020VISION

Flowers are springing up all over the place, in time for Easter. John Hughes explains what to look out for in this latest blog.

Like so much from primary school I can only remember the first 2 lines of an Easter hymn:

“At Easter time the village fayre,

And lovely flowers bloom everywhere”

We would croak out of tune, but the sentiment has stayed with me. No village fayres this year, but no bloomin’ pandemic is stopping those blooming flowers.

Flowers are springing up all over the place. In woodlands there’s a dash to flower and be pollinated before the canopy of leaves high in the trees shuts out the sun. Wood anemones and primroses are at their very best for Easter.

In hedgerows the numerous types of plum are coming out – cherry plum now, soon to be followed by sloe. In the fields cowslips and violets attract bees. Sadly there are all too few fields with a diversity of wild flowers remaining.

Snake's Head Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris)

Snake's Head Fritillary (c) Tom Marshall

There are a some flowers that we sadly don’t find growing wild in Shropshire that are Easter specials. The snakes head fritillary frequents damp pastures. Where they do thrive, they occur by the thousand and, for a brief couple of weeks, are simply breath-taking.

 

Pasqueflower

Pasqueflower

The pasqueflower is such a seasonal feature that it’s actually named after Easter – a bit more school learning; Pâque is French for Easter. These gorgeous purple blooms occur on the chalk of southern and eastern England. It’s Cambridgeshire’s county flower.

This year I won’t be able to visit these special Easter flowers. I do have snakes head fritillaries in my garden, but I struggle to keep pasqueflowers alive for more than a year or two. So, I think I’ll go in search of another favourite.

Moschatel

Moschatel (c) Philip Precey

Moschatel is also known as the Good Friday plant. This tiny, insignificant herb is to be found in wet woods and hedge bottoms. It’s so easily overlooked but on your hands and knees you’ll be rewarded with a glorious green structure that has 4 flowers facing all 4 points of the compass, giving it its country name of town hall clock. What a find!

John Hughes garden

John Hughes

Development Manager, gardening and fungi expert. 

Shropshire Wildlife Trust

Foot note: I bothered to look up my school hymn and it turns out it’s actually

“At Easter time the lilies fair,

And lovely flowers bloom everywhere”

So, this is most likely a case of me not paying attention at school or possibly misremembering. There’s a fine tradition of misinterpretation of song lyrics. Surely Freddie Mercury sang “Spare him his life from his warm sausage tea” in Bohemian Rhapsody and the Eurythmics “Sweet dreams are made of cheese”.

Does anyone else recall a TV ad in the 1980s for Maxell video tapes (made in Telford) with a chap listening to Desmond Decker on an inferior tape and hearing “Oh, oh me ear’s are alight”? That one still makes me chuckle...