Until July 2017, documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say! Meanwhile . . . I've now moved to Halifax in West Yorkshire. Click on the link below to collect the new URL. Don't forget to follow there!

Monday, 18 June 2012


Leaves tremble. It's a nuisance when you want to take pictures of them but they can't be persuaded to stop. Flowers - the light reflects from their petals and produces white blodges. Sometimes, you have to take several shots before they come out 'right'. The good thing about hedgerows though, I've been thinking, is that the plants there are tough and there are lots of them. This is generally an easy blog. I potter along, take some photos, come home, puzzle about what to miss out when I've seen so many interesting things and . . . post! Delicate plants are not for me.

'Delicate', I've tended to think, is a sort of synonym for 'exotic'. I've never met an orchid but I expect they count. Certainly, there are fewer orchids in the fields than nettles.

Groundsel near children's roundabout
Hardly an orchid!
Groudsel growing in through the substantial gap between the roundabout and the grass.
Growing in the same gap as the groundsel (above).
June 17th 2012

As you can tell, my thinking was muddled (exotic = delicate = rare = hard to photo; common = easy) when I decided to take pictures of plants in a park.
I didn't expect much of a challenge. After all, most plants which grow wild in parks are counted as weeds. I'd see what I could find, click - and be done.

Cut-leaved Crane's-bill (Geranium dissectum)
June 17th 2012

'Park' is a loose word for the place I chose. It's more like a field with slides and swings plonked down in it.

I don't yet know what this is.
It's like pineapple mayweed only more substantial and without the smell.

One basket ball net - one. One goal post for five a side - one! (What kind of sports did the designers have in mind?) There's a roundabout and a jiggly version of a seesaw on a spring. Every so often someone comes along and mows the grass. In the meantime, it can grow quite tall, not tall-tall but, away from the trampled areas, it's about eight inches high at present. This, I say with approval. Too much mowing is a bad thing. I reckon. Short grass is alright when kept in its place. Too much and it's boring.

White Clover (Trifolium repens) in the grass.
(I know it's not white all the way through
but that's one of its characteristics - 
that this kind of clover can have pink petals mixed in.)

People with tanks of weed killer used to come and spray it but I haven't seen any recently so maybe they've stopped. There's a picnic table and a bench. Children swing on the swings and clamber about on the frame that leads to the slide. It's not an abandoned playground, not in the least, but it is, to my eyes, bleak . . . even though there's a large expanse of grass which is rarely used - after all, how do you play football when there's only one goal?

If I looked, what would I find? Lots. What's more, I found things difficult to photograph. None of these are rare plants but it's taken me more than a week of going back and back to get any photographs worth showing. Wild urban plants wobble, shut their petals, glare back and are much more of a pain to photograph than . . . than nettles. I've had to photograph them over and over again till they came 'right'. (Rainy days haven't helped.)

And it's not just within the park that you notice these flowers.

White Clover (Trifolium repens) from the street side.
(The tarmac is the pavement.)
June 11TH 2012

They creep under the fence too.

Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis)
 June 17th 2012

Scarlet Pimpernel flowers have been specially difficult to photograph. Not only are they small, with fluttering petals (how much they move is not necessarily noticeable till you look (frustratedly!) through the lens) but the flowers have been staying closed through most of the day. Even when it's been sunny, they haven't opened till the afternoon. Because I didn't expect this (know about it?) I kept traipsing backwards and forwards. I have lots of pictures with the flowers shut - in case the plant got pulled up or too rain battered.
Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis)
 June 17th 2012
Although this was annoying, it turned out in an interesting way because over this period is that more have come up in the grass. Above is one in the park but taken through the fence from the outside.

Common Bird's-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)
June 13th 2012

We probably need a close up for this one!

Isn't it lovely that it's got 'lotus' in its name?
 Black Medick
(Medicago lupulina)
June 6th 2012

Black Medick is one you would quite likely step on - especially as it is beginning to wander out from the edge of the park and on to the pavement. Once again, I find the Latin name surprising. It is not black - and it looks nothing like a lupin! If I carry on learning the scientific name for plants, more will become clear. In the meantime, I'm treasuring the surprise, the mystery, the apparent irrelevance.
And last, but beautifully not least . . .

The dandelion!
* * *
And here's a post-script. I'd like to recommend a blog some of you may not yet have come across

Tim Havenith

You'll find plants, creatures, ladybird eggs (!) and more. If you like Loose and Leafy, you're almost bound to like Notes of Nature too.


Mark Willis said...

Lucy, I bet you got some VERY strange looks from people who saw you keep going back to the park and laying down (presumably) peering closely at some "weeds". I like what you have come up with though. There are some great little weeds out there - and most of them are so resilient too, unlike their mollycoddled relatives in the official flowerbeds!

Hollis said...

I share your frustration with plants not standing still for photos! Rocks are much more cooperative.

Tim said...

Hi Lucy, great post - you've helped me ID a plant that I photographed yesterday :)
Also, thanks for the link to my blog.

Diana of Elephants Eye said...

Our 'scarlet' pimpernell is an electrifying blue. Seems against nature somehow.

Mark and Gaz said...

Your post made me smile today as these little beauties are rarely featured in blogs. Very nice :)

elaine rickett said...

Lovely close-ups of the flowers - I bet no-one else notices them as they pass by.

Duxbury Ramblers said...

Nice find with the Scarlet Pimpernel, amazing what we walk past.

Donna said...

Lovely flowers many would just consider weeds and would spray with chemicals to rid them....many I have never heard of! Thx for showing them off...

Bridget said...

It's amazing what you can see when you actually look closer. I also spotted some Wheat in one of your pics.

easygardener said...

The Dandelion positively glows against the tarmac - no wonder you have chosen it as a heading.

Lucy said...

Mark - something very funny happened today. (June 23rd) I was crawling up some steps, photographing the plants, when I came across a man crawling along the ground at the top. He was painting a sort of concrete skirting board round the bottom of his brick house - which was at the top of the steps. We had a very interesting discussion while we crawled around on our separate tasks - and he told me which plants he never pulls out when he's 'weeding' the steps.

Oops! Kick off. Spain against France. Will carry on replying to comments later.

Lucy said...

Half time!

Hello Hollis. Perhaps I should switch to stone plants. I know of two fossilised forests in Dorset.

Which plant was that, Tim?

Diana - when our Scarlet Pimpernels are blue, we call them 'Speedwells'.

Hi, Mark and Gaz - and they are beautiful! Glad they make you smile. It's a good occupation for a free-wheeling plant.

Elaine - because people stop to ask what I'm looking at, I wonder whether the idea is slowly spreading round here.

Hi, Duxbury Ramblers. I keep passing a bigger clump of Scarlet Pimpernel but it's not in the park. Maybe I'll tack it to this post just because it's beautiful.

Kick off for part two of Spain v. France. Bye again for now.

Lucy said...

Hello Donna. I've seen the park sprayed some years - but not recently. Don't know if that's a change in policy or because I simply haven't been around to notice. Litter is picked up quite often though - which is good!

Hello Bridget. There's barley too - masses of it. It looks lovely when the wind blows.

Easygardener - I never tire of dandelions!

Lucy said...

Dear Everyone. You may like to know there's a new post - Olympics behind the Alexanders!


Pat Tillett said...

Many really nice photos here, but I LOVE the dandelion and asphalt photo! Several different types of contrast in that one...