Monday, 22 June 2009

Attenborough Reserve

A lovely walk this morning around the Attenborough Nature Reserve and along a bit of the River Trent. There were many wild flowers in bloom along the pathways and hedgerows. The first I will introduce to you is this tiny-flowered beauty, Lady's Bedstraw (Galium verum).

Lady's Bedstraw is related to the well-known, scrambling plant of the hedgerow common called 'Stick Willy'. It is called Bedstraw as it's soft stems have been used for stuffing mattresses. The fragrance of the flowers is also supposed to kill any fleas which might get into your bed!
Secondly, we found an abundance of an invasive, foreign species growing strongly and to a great height along the river banks. The Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera).

The flowers of this plant are rather lovely as you can see, but such a problem where it grows un-checked. Related to the humble Busy Lizzie, it spreads it's seeds explosively all over the place. Anyone who has ever touched a ripe seed pod and has been surprised by the loud 'pop' and a face-full of seeds, will testify to this.
Next, a more lowly plant, the Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis).

A bit of a problem if it finds it's way into your garden, you can't deny the beauty of the pink and white striped flowers. Lastly, a relative of the Field Bindweed, but much more 'showy', the Large Bindweed (Calystegia silvatica). Not actually a Convolvulus as you will see, it is also known as a 'False Bindweed'. The plant is an extremely strong climber and can cover your shrubbery seemingly in no time at all.

The flowers are quite large, up to 5" across and trumpet-like. It a native of Southern Europe but has become naturalised almost everywhere.
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