stories and illustration

The Mauve Field


Walking down the main Edinburgh road, towards the lane that cuts off down to the Tweed, I see this mauve field, which I suspect is a crop of Phacelia, planted to attract bees, and to provide “green manure”. What a plant!  I have never seen a completely mauve field before, as far as I can remember. Until a few years ago, didn’t see the bright yellow of rape fields, either. Plant a rape field next to a field of “bee’s friend” and you would have some colour scheme.


The field is across the other side of the Tweed, which would be hard to get to from here, as it is a long walk on the English side, right round the Cornhill bend and further; and besides, last time I went down there I had to climb over the fence, as it has been barred off (don’t think that would happen on the Scottish side, as there is apparently no law of trespass in Scotland).


Because of all the sun, the Tweed is very low, and birds are standing in the middle of the river. They fly off as I approach.


The comfrey, that I thought was called Indian Balsam, is fading beside the river, and the Himalayan Balsam, that I thought was called Comfrey, is growing in profusion:



 In my walk I have been bitten ferociously by insects, which is in one way a good sign, as the planting of Phacelia has obviously started to bring back insect life. I try to resurrect the calomine lotion from a few years ago but it has solidified, even when stirred with the back of a toothbrush.

A couple of days later I take the same walk, and look across for the mauve field, but the colour has completely vanished.  The plant will  now be on its journey to becoming “green manure”. Taking photographs has made me feel keenly the transience of the colours of the world. I wonder what fields will be mauve next year.

July 20, 2013 - Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Oh I wish I had seen this before it was cut…’s beautiful. A great reminder as you say to savour the passing moment 🙂


    Comment by greenmackenzie | July 20, 2013 | Reply

    • You were right – the mauve field has been cut. My husband said that the Phacelia he had seen on his long daily walk had been cut and cleared from the fields he passed, so it is obviously being used for manure. All the poppies have gone as well, so I am glad I photographed them when I did.


      Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | July 21, 2013 | Reply

  2. I don’t know whether it has been cut, or whether the heat has changed the colour. We picked a small piece from another field and kept it in a glass (it lasted for a long time) and the colour did gradually fade.

    I like seeing your blog very much.


    Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | July 20, 2013 | Reply

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