Monday, 25 May 2009

Wild Aquilegias . . . and the Council's verge-scalping habit

I thought I'd carry on the trend, having done cultivated Aquilegias over on Codlins and Cream this weekend. These photos were taken early Saturday morning, when the soft but relentless rain from the previous night had spoiled some of the petals of the pale flowers. Along some of the local lanes, these are a common flower. On others they are nowhere to be seen.

We have some of the palest pink ones up by our field gate (on our hedgerow). We have had as many as 14 plants, but are down to about 4 again, partly because Next Door WILL insist n driving farm vehicles which are to wide down our narrow lane and gouging chunks out of the banks (always the chunks with Aquilegia growing on them). Secondly, if the gritting guys come along in the winter, and with hundreds of yards of bank to chose from, they ALWAYS chuck the grit and salt on - you've guessed it - some of my Aquilegias. Finally, the Council contractors WILL insist on cutting the banks before they can set seed (they probably do it early to eradicate that peril of narrow country lanes, Cow Parsley - I mean, if your vision is impeded, you might have to slow down - heaven forbid!) I see that this year they have been cutting the verges along the A40 with their profusion of white, pink and red Valerian and millions of Ox-Eye Daisies in mid-May. Last year they were an absolute picture - this year - scalped. "They" get earlier and earlier too . . . "They" don't seem to realize that the beauty of the Welsh countryside and wild flowers are part of the attraction to holiday-makers and some inhabitants, but "they" just want everywhere looking like a tidy back lawn - a pox on them. It must cost an arm and a blardy leg too - the number of vehicles with flashing signs involved to say grass cutting is in progress, all for one little man with a strimmer!

Isn't this such a pretty Midnight Purple? Or should that be Aubergine?

They come in such pretty colours - I love the Crushed Raspberry . . .

and the Faded Crushed Raspberry . . .

And the Deep Lilacy-Purple.

These look almost black from a distance.

And of course white. "My" wild Aquilegias, on the top bank of our field, are the palest of pale pinks. I've taken photos tonight so will share them tomorrow.


  1. So very lovely. I think we both remember a time when country lanes and verges were allowed to be a bit "wild" or "natural" before the man with the mower came through. The "progress of man" has destroyed so much that is beautiful and comforting to the soul.

  2. we had the same when we lived in dorset, the high banks being cut by the farmers. here in the new forest my mum has been having wild ones pop up all over the place for years and she just leaves them to seed again~they look wonderful

  3. I never noticed any wild ones all the time I was wandering the New Forest, so it's good to hear of them re-establishing where your mum is. DH and I are house and animal-sitting for a friend in the Forest this summer. I can't wait - her back gate opens straight onto the Forest.

    MM - I just wish they would leave things alone! There was a very rare orchid growing on a roundabout and all over the local papers - and then the Council cut it down. Next year - same thing happened. There's no hope for people of such low intellect - and employing monkeys for peanuts . . .

  4. I had no idea that aquilegias grew wild - are they truly wild or garden escapes? Beautiful either way. As for cutting hedge banks and roadside verges and also butchering hedges - what can I say? My opinions are the same as yours.

  5. Such a shame when the natural variety and colour of our verges is hacked back, though in some cases to preserve safe sight lines that is necessary, I am sure it doesn't always need to be done. In Dorset, on the road between Broadwindsor and Bridport, there is a section the council themselves have marked out not to be cut. I've also seen some people putting some signs in verges saying do not cut - often respected too which is nice.
    Don't mention oversize trailers! There are constant problems here with blocked storm drains with run-off down lanes of the material which used to be part of the verge but which too-wide equipment has gouged out and then heavy rains wash down.

  6. It is heartbreaking to read of this going on in England/Wales. I remember being shocked years ago when I heard there was a movement to get rid of hedgerows. Is that still going on? Are there not groups to oppose this Council? I think I told you on Codlins that we have the deep purple. They are almost out and I'll post a picture (maybe even a blog header if I can get a good shot) so you can compare. I'll bet mine are the aubergine. And I've always thought the purple curly ones were the wild ones. The others offer more colors and are smooth-blossomed, and from my experience on this windy hill, do not live from year to year as my curly ones do. I may have said before but I am so happy you began this blog. I think it is essential and as far as I know, no one else is doing it. I enjoy my visits to the nature table.