I was recently asked if I had any more photographs of the wild flowers planted on the traffic island and along Roman Road. Today, on the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme, it seems appropriate. Watching the memorial event at Thiepval today, I was struck by the wild flowers in the foreground – the same mix as used for our island – for me this symbolises the healing power of nature. We have seen archive footage of the devastation at the Somme with burnt out tree-stumps. Apparently JRR Tolkien served at the Somme and it is easy to understand his vision of Mordor and the inspiration for his tree shepherds. Compare this with today’s memorial, flanked by green trees, recovered 100 years on.
Some of the first flowers to show along Roman Road are the celandines. They take advantage of the light before bracken, bramble and tree greenery take over.
Another important spring flower, Jack-by-the-Hedge, one of the plants used by the Orange Tip for nectar and for laying its eggs.
Another important early source of nectar, laurel blossom.
The Alkanet flowers all year round. This was taken in the spring. Now it is looking a little battered after all the heavy rain we have suffered this summer. Already, however, new green leaves are shooting, giving the Scarlet Tigers plenty of larvae food.
A delicate sprinkling of mauve provided by Common Vetch.
One of the plants we wish to encourage is staking a claim – Bird’s Foot Trefoil.
One of the challenges along Roman Road, is the coarse grass with the potential to strangle any wild flowers planted. Thus Yellow Rattle has been sown. In 2016 the Yellow Rattle has spread and in areas where it is strong, it has had an impact on the grasses.
Second year appearances include Sorrel and Great Burnet.
Other favourites – Red Campion and Forget-me-Not.
Hoping for another display at Westwood Avenue.
There are lots more flowers to see and it will be interesting to see what next year brings.