Tag Archives: Iris foetidissima

Duver sunshine

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I’ve blogged numerous times about the St Helens Duver – the National Trust owned area of heathland opposite where we live – but not recently.  (For a while I contributed regularly to a wildflower meme, and you can see the posts by selecting the ‘Wildflower Wednesday’ category).

Sunday’s sunshine, after Saturday’s grey, was such a treat I’m taking you on the usual circuit and sharing a few wild flowers along the way.

These hips are so fabulous I’d be tempted to pick a few, but they’re on a bramble clad bank between the path and the road and therefore completely inaccessible.  I’ll just have to admire from a distance. IMG_3686

Further down the path, looking right towards the Solent I just caught this yacht heading out,

whilst looking the other way, I spied a number of glowing Iris foetidissima seed heads.IMG_3691

At the bottom of the path, looking back across Bembridge Harbour, you can see over to Brading Haven yacht club.  There was plenty of activity there today, but rather them than me.

(I did actually sail a lot in my twenties, including racing back from Lisbon to Southampton, and from Aarhus in Denmark across the North Sea and round the top of Scotland to the Clyde.  These days I’d generally rather be on dry land, but seeing the jolly sails on such a beautiful day did start to make me wonder….)

The grassland above is one of the sites of the fantastic drifts of sea thrift Armeria maritima during May, which I’ve blogged about here.  There are still a few clinging on,IMG_3694

together with the odd chamomile – I think this is Chamaemelum nobile.IMG_3693

Rounding the corner and onto the beach I saw the dinghies has beaten me there!IMG_3707

And, while I’m diverging from the flowers, just thought I’d share a picture of Nimbus, in honour of his upcoming ninth birthday.  IMG_3708

And finally, also nothing to do with flowers, anyone else devastated by tonight’s Strictly outcome?

Wildflower Wednesday – January 2015

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These photos were actually taken on Saturday because it was just such a beautiful morning.  Quite a contrast from this morning’s walk, when the wind was blowing the rain horizontally!

The picture above shows the lovely tracery of branches of our old friend, the over-the-road-oak.

Googling ‘Sea Beet’ for this week’s post, I came across the following article from the Guardian from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, which highlights three plants which can be foraged in the UK. All of them are growing on the Duver and looking good right now, in the middle of winter -Alexanders, Smyrnium olusatrumIMG_5882

Sea beet, Beta vulgaris subsp. maritimaIMG_5886

and Wild garlic or Ramsons,  Allium ursinum.IMG_5876

I’ve never foraged from the Duver (other than blackberries) but I’ve definitely enjoyed wild garlic.  However, that has been picked from my garden, where I’m desperately trying to eradicate it!

There really isn’t much sea beet on the Duver so I think that should be left well alone, but there must be nearly an acre of Alexanders.  Perhaps I should give that a try – according to Hugh F-W “The flavour is aromatic, fragrant – a little musky, a touch juniper-ish”.

In addition to the three plants above, I saw plenty of Winter heliotrope or Butterbur, Petasites fragrans.IMG_5880

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Gorse, Ulex europaeusIMG_5892

and something I’ve not seen before.  These fresh, green, sword shaped leaves were obscured by scrubby growth that was removed by the National Trust earlier in the year.  This has opened up the view and also cleared the area to allow these plants to thrive.  I think they must be Iris foetidissima, see close up of leaves below.IMG_5883

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Assuming that’s what they are, I look forward to seeing them all in flower.

To finish, a couple more photos – the first showing the marram grass, Ammophila,  glossy in the winter sunshine,IMG_5894

and a final one, a little nod towards spring.IMG_5899

With thanks as ever to Gail at Clay and Limestone for hosting the Wildflower Wednesday meme.