English Spring

I’m not much of a horticulturalist. Pretty much the opposite. I like nature, but I’m a city boy at heart. And whilst I appreciate the backdrop of a bloom, I’m rarely so taken that I feel the need to find out what sort of a bloom it is. Except in Mexico. Everyone there seems to measure the seasons by rainfall. Dry season and rainy season. But during my time there, the country experience more rainfail than rainfall. I measured the seasons more simply – Jacaranda season and Not Jacaranda season. I needed to know the name of the bloom to know the name of the season.

The seasons in England are far more dramatic than in Mexico. We have proper summers, autumns, winters and springs. And we definitely can’t measure them by rainfall, else the country would have but a single season. But plants can help to determine the time of year. Even more precisely than Mexico’s Jacarandas.

The snowdrops appear in January. February and March brings daffodils and crocuses. Primroses and violets in April and May sees the Rhododendrons and Bluebells add a splash of colour to rural England. The it’s summer and the country turns a lush, overwhelming green. Did you know that there are more species of plants in England than in any other country of the world? They’re not all native species of course, and I can’t find the link that I originally read to prove it. But I can believe it. The several of centuries of incessant collecting and cultivating that the country embarked on in the 1600’s  is pretty evident whenever you visit a stately home.

I’ve decided to see if I can’t document as many of these blooms as possible this spring. I’ve started sets on Flickr and Google which I’ll add to. To get things off to a start, there’s a few shots of snowdrops. They aren’t native to England, but have made themselves quite at home here. They’re common enough for me to be able to name. I can’t promise I’ll be able to name every flower I snap. I’ll need some help.

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5 Comments

  • Nice project. The incorporation of The Americas into international trade in the 1500s brought plenty of new plants to England. But it was the tendrils of The Empire that set up the conveyor belt of plants to stately homes and other far humbler gardens. Even in my garden in Melaque, almost everything is from somewhere else. Globalization has been a gardener’s dream.

    • I do remember you (very interesting) post on that theme from a while back. When I lived in London, there was a manor house next door dating from the 1500’s. One of the owners at one time had gotten it into his head to fill his garden – which was a little bigger back then – with one of every tree. He didn’t, of course, come close. But he still left behind a very unique forest of different trees. Including some rarities. Including one of only 12 (or so it was claimed) mature Weeping Beeches in the UK.

  • I have always found flowers extremely difficult to photograph. Close-ups mostly have depth of field issues (of course that can be used to one’s advantage as well). Maybe it is just that their beauty cannot really be captured with a camera – you had to be there 😉

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