Wednesday, 3 June 2015

A Pop of Colour

A poppy field near me has become a talking point. 'Have you seen them?' people ask. Less than two weeks since the RHS Chelsea Flower Show medals were handed out, wild flowers are stealing the show. I was bowled over by an ox-eye daisy meadow in the grounds of St.Vigor's church, Fulbourn.  They cast delicate shadows on the gravestones and dominate as a blanket of white, but look closely and you'll see a profusion of other species too such as red clover, common vetch and black medick. You could visit next week when there's an opportunity to get involved in some nature events on Wednesday. The weekly swift survey takes place and the Wildlife Trust's annual orchid count happens at the nature reserve nearby. Check out this blog's events calendar for more details.

Used to walking in our monoculture landscape of blue-green wheat and sulphur yellow oil-seed rape, I felt a bit overwhelmed looking at the dense biodiversity of the Wildlife Trust's Fulbourn Fen, where I photographed marsh orchids. Using camera, books and internet I could only begin to identify the less flamboyant but unusual species I could see crammed into just a small transect. I've been having a think about how to acquire more of a botanist's eye for our British flora. There is currently a wildflower exhibition at Clare Hall, Cambridge displaying work by a group called Iceni Botanical Artists. Drawing and painting is a great way to look and learn and acquire expertise on a subject. Many organisations have guided walks, talks and courses. The Cambridge Natural History Society's annual Conversazione on June 12 and 13th showcases some of these organisations and points the way to the Cambridge area's astonishing specialist knowledge of the natural world.

Photo by 'RoganJosh'

Photo of marsh orchid by Jo Sinclair

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