July 6th – No apparent issues with the thistles this year, however. In fact it seems a good year for them – prickly and purple, they are flowering well and in larger number than I’ve seen for a good few years – so as I suspect, water probably isn’t an issue for them like the berries, hips and haws of the hedgerows above.
The colours – from pale lavender to deep, dark purple – are always a joy. Thisles are very underrated indeed in my opinion.
July 3rd – Growing along just about every lane, track, cycleway and footpath at the moment, a very much overlooked purple wildflower.
No, not thistle, but knapweed. Similar, knapweed is not hostile or prickly, but flowers similarly in strong purple, a favourite of pollinators and a great source of high quality nectar, it’s seeds feeding many songbirds too.
Sometimes the best flowers fly under the radar.
June 27th – Since we’re in high, hot summer we’re now in a phase of darker flowers – purples, reds, dark blues. And that means the thistles are coming out.
Spotted flowering on industrial wasteland in Pleck, this gorgeous thistle was alive with tiny back bugs.
I immediately felt sorry for the plant. But who knows? They may have been doing it good…
Fascinating, all the same.
June 18th – Now we’re in high summer the flowering phase is fading a little and we’re moving on to hardier, darker flowers and blooms, greens are deepening and the fruiting phase is commencing.
Now is the time of bramble flowers, thistles, knapweed and cornflowers – and the time when the canal looks it’s very best.
November 28th – In winter, as I’ve often observed, you have to take beauty where you can find it, and to find it one must maintain a keen eye.
Hurrying into Wednesbury today, I noticed this confused thistle, in perfect full bloom. It was immaculate, this king of the wasteland, and made my day.
I must have passed this a few times and not noticed, like so many must. I need to sharpen my eye, and keep my sense of wonder in these coming dark months. Doing so it what keeps me going.
June 27th – Another beautiful weed is the thistle. There seems to be a very large variety of these spiny, prehistoric looking plants, and their strains seem endlessly complex – but whether a light mauve like these at Shire Oak Hill or a pink or deep, deep purple, they are all gorgeous and fascinating, particularly in the hostel-looking buds.
June 13th – Coming to be a common sight about now, a lovely purple flower dots the verges, hedgerows and neglected spaces. I’m fairly sure this is knapweed, and looks very thistle-like, but has no prickles.
I wonder what the evolutionary genesis of this is – something so similar to another plant, but without the protective defences? Whatever, it’s a really beautiful thing.
July 5th – One of my wildflower joys at the moment is the humble thistle. Not just for the vivd purple brush that forms the flower, but for the delightfully spiky and prehistoric looking buds this curious plant forms.
They may not be conventionally beautiful, but next time you pass a thistle, look closely. They’re amazing things.
June 30th – As we approach what is a very damp midsummer, the flowers and greenery are beautiful this year, even if the weather isn’t. Although the early flush of blossom and spring colour has now passed, there are now more gentle delights if you look carefully.
The thistles are just emerging now, in several forms and the self-heal has been in bloom for a week or two now, with it’s tiny, but beautifully coloured flower heads. Also remarkable and spotted today near the cycleway at Goscote, this wonderful orchid.
Purple definitely seems to be the colour of the moment.