9 Jul 2015

The Hedgerows of Hampton Court

Mallow (Malva sylvestris)


Until last week, I'd only been to Hampton Court as a child on a family outing and, from that, I remember only the kitchens and the plaster mouldings. Odd. History is often lost on the very young.  Ten days ago, I was able to pop along to the RHS Flower Show preview day and had a wonderful, if hot, day - more of which, later.

But the best bit of the day, after all those thought provoking beautiful gardens, was this: a 50 yard stretch of natural beauty along the riverbank path on the way back to the station.  I can't help thinking that all those commuters rushing past are missing a trick. 


Goat's Rue (Galega officinalis). Now there's a plant that I'd deliberately grow in the garden.
Ox-eye daisies and something purple, possibly Wild Clary, Selfheal or Bugloss - anyone care to enlighten me?

Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra) - great for bees and adding a nice splash of colour to the path.

And this white flower - I'm thinking Yarrow  but maybe not as it was low growing?

Nope, still guessing…  
(See comments below:  we now think these brown seedheads are Plantain - thanks Emma!) 


The yellow flowers look like rocket or brassica flowers.  Any clues?


The rurbanite* in my soul thought this was gorgeous and wanted to share.  Being a bit of a North Londoner, it's not often that I come across such breathtaking beauty, perfectly lit by the early evening sun. Whether the planting along the path is by nature or nurture, I can't tell.  Whatever. Well done, that borough council if they had a hand in this - even by not cutting it back. It fair made my day, and probably that of quite a few bees and butterflies.  I wish I'd photographed the leaves of these plants as that might make identification a lot easier - still, there's always a return visit. 


*Rurbanite: lives in the city, heart in the country.  As coined by Alex Mitchell in her book 'The Rurbanite'.

22 comments:

  1. Beautiful Caro! But for a moment I thought you were referring to some of the 'naturalistic' planting in some of the show gardens.

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    1. Thanks guys! This is what I was doing when I'd just missed seeing you inside the show! Yes, the thought of Dan Pearson's Chelsea garden did cross my mind as I clicked away but this is just so much nicer (imho) :o)

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  2. I'd say yes on the yarrow - it is sometimes low-growing. And the 'still guessing' looks like it could be a plantain in flower :)

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    1. Thanks, Emma. I was trying to guess from my pocket Wildflowers guide - I could have used your magnifying glass though! Ah, just checked - plantain isn't in the guide book but Google confirms that you're right. So lovely - and I always wondered what it was! Now I know - brilliant! Will edit post …. x

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  3. A most enjoyable post with lovely pictures. Mallow always self-seeds and grows on my plot, and always has holed leaves. Flighty xx

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    1. Aaah, thanks Flighty! Lucky you having Mallow on your plot, such a pretty plant. I have a cultivated mallow growing in a pot from seed but it's yet to flower. Obviously the mucous texture of the leaves appeals to some insect or other so a truly biodiverse environment!

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  4. You can't beat a stretch of wildflowers! I do love that Goat's Rue, how pretty! I have Plantain popping up all over my garden!xxx

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    1. Absolutely! There are patches of the Heath here that have meadow planting on - spectacular to look at but this little stretch was so unexpected. Goat's Rue doesn't look as though it should be a wildflowers does it?

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  5. Lovely post Caro, since having the dog I've rediscovered old childhood haunts where the fields are full of wild flowers. A lot of this is close by in all sorts of places without people realising it's there x

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    1. Thanks, Jo. It's great to get off the beaten track and discover new paths, having a dog must be great for that - another reason to be thankful for Rocky dog! Enjoy your wildflower walks this summer! xx

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  6. Must admit I don't like cities and love the countryside but love twixt the two. I wonder what that makes me?

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    1. Maybe a subrurbanite? I'm not sure I could ever live in the centre of London although I hear that some people absolutely love it. (Maybe they're young.) I do love knowing that I can get out of London quite quickly and have family in nicer locations!

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  7. Beautiful wildflowers! So fascinating! The yellow flower at the last picture is similar to my green mustard (Brassica chinensis), but yours looks taller. Thanks for sharing the beauty

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    1. Hi Endah, thank you! I still don't know what the yellow flower is but, yes, it does remind me of mustard flowers or similar. I usually eat the flowers of my bolted kales, etc. They're quite tasty! Not sure about hedgerow flowers though!

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  8. I share your views on wild flowers. Last weekend I drove down the M4 to Port Talbot, and it was nice to see all the motorway verges (and some of the central reservations too) bulging with wild flowers. I particularly noticed lots of mallow, and knapweed.

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    1. I've loved the verges and roundabouts coming down the A31, Mark. You'll no doubt be familiar with the planting there - lots and lots of ox-eye daisies (and dogwood stems in winter!). I find it quite hard not to stop the car and get out to take photos!! The M4 sounds much improved by the addition of wildflowers - it's a while since I've driven that way.

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  9. Glorious wild flowers, I'm liking them more and more as time goes on. I wish I could identify more than a handful though, I think I shall invest in a guidebook. I've learnt one or two here today. And as you say, very well done to the local authority for not cutting them back. Round here they're obsessed with ride on mowers and they're very liberal with the weedkiller as well, it's so shortsighted and frustrating.

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    1. It's the same on the coast where my parents live, Claire. All neatly mown edges. It's a wonder the local council leave the blackberry hedges alone! A pocket guidebook is a good idea - you may even be able to get your boys to help with identification. My book made me realise that the ground cover weed in the veg patch is actually a useful wildflower called self-heal. I might have to do another post on the subject!! ;o) xx

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  10. So lovely to see nature at it's best and appreciate it even after a day full of flowers at Hampton Court. We saw many of these flowers on the cliffs this afternoon and for once I didn't have my camera with us! Sorry to hear about your Mum hope she is recovering well now she is back home. Sarah x

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    1. I much prefer the wildness of nature or of a managed meadow to the manicured show gardens, Sarah, but I realise that they're not very practical in a domestic garden. I guess we just have to pick and choose the best of the wildflowers for our gardens! Hopefully you'll take your camera next time and share your wildflowers with us - presumably lots of Armeria, which I love! Thanks for good wishes for my Mum; she's recovered well, thank goodness. Caro xx

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  11. We have lots of that yellow flowered plant in your last picture on the verges around here. It looks a bit like a wild form of Crambe cordifolia (which is a brassica) but that's a guess.

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    1. Lucky you having lots of wildflowers on the verges and, I agree, I thought the flowers looked very like the ones I get on kales and broccoli (I try and leave them for the bees) but I'm also guessing! Whatever it is, it made my day!

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Caro x

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