Monday, 16 January 2012

It's wonderful to see wild flowers in winter

winter heliotrope taken 13th january 2012

Outside the office at Q Lawns, sits a sample of MeadowMat waiting to be collected by our salesman.  It's freezing out there, the vegetation is white with frost, yet bobbing about above the leaves are two blooms, one is ragged robin, the other yarrow.  It's so unexpected to see wild flowers in winter, these two are a real joy to behold.

I've not been down to the Meadowmat production field lately, but Robert Allen, our Production Manager tells me it looks amazing with the frost on it.  He says I can probably get some amazing photographs if I get up early in the morning when it's still freezing hard.  Hmmmmmm, I like the idea of some frosty photos, but getting up early?  It's just not me.....

I did manage to snap some lovely wild flowers while I was walking the dogs at the weekend.  I had no idea what they were and had never seen them in flower before.  Lucky for me, Nick Coslett from Palmstead Nurseries, Paul Addison from Q Lawns and Harriet Holland on Twitter were able to identify the plant for me.

I always assumed from the leaves that they are coltsfoot but in fact they're a cousin of coltsfoot called Winter Heliotrope or Petasites fragrans. Apparantly the plant was introduced to England as an ornamental in 1806, it's actually a nativ of the central mediterranean; is quite invasive, flowers from Nov - Feb, spreads via underground rhizomes and the flowers smell a bit like vanilla.  I'm afraid I can't verify the scent....I didn't fancy scrambling over the barbed wire fence just for a sniff!
ragged robin

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