stories and illustration

Comeback Flowers


Some years ago I went on a walk along a patch of ground where there were apparently an interesting variety of flowers growing. Ramblers dressed in full gear, myself in my ordinary boots and coat, felt a fool for a moment, but we walked two miles gently on the flat for two hours, so it wasn’t strenuous. However, I remember we searched for the odd flower here and there along this walk, which I believe was the path of a deserted railway line.  Yes, it was a lovely walk with good people. Yes, there were some flowers here and there among the grasses, which we looked up in Collins guides. But in all that walk we scarcely saw an insect, and no birds were singing at all.


Even last year, there was a scarcity of insects.  I didn’t see a butterfly at all until really late last summer.


Years ago, when my son was young, the hedgerows were almost barren of flowers.  Going even further back – I found this old book that I had had when I was young, about nine, and in the end pages (I was an inveterate scribbler in books) I had listed over 150 varieties of flowers that I had seen, and more than 50 species of birds. I thought maybe this generosity of flora had disappeared for ever.


Something has happened. Suddenly we are knee deep in flowers, banks and fields of them.  Not  rare flowers, but beautiful en masse.


The other day I stood quietly and I could hear the hum of insects in the air.  In places that are left without any husbandry the nettles take over, so perhaps this sudden florescence has been managed.  The farmer  has been putting down weedkiller just along the margins of the fields, so that edging the fields is a narrow and very specific yellow line, which I have not seen before. I know that there is an arrangement to mow the verges on alternate sides of the road each year, to allow plants to flourish.  Has anything else been going on?  Are people suddenly not using the same weedkiller or using different methods of stopping crops being infiltrated? Whatever it is, the effect is beautiful, and makes life feel better.



June 13, 2013 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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