Wild urban nature

We’ve had a lot of rain over the last few weeks, and the grass verges near me, which are usually looking dry and brown by this time of the year, are still lush and green. Not only are they lush and green, but they are also in dire need of a haircut! But surprisingly, in amongst the tall straggly grasses, all the old meadow and wild flowers are flourishing. Although it may look untidy, can we please delay the grass cutting for a little longer, and enjoy the flowers?

The ubiquitous daisies, just right for daisy chains, are dotted everywhere; and the yellow dandelions seem to have changed into dandelion clocks overnight. As a child I delighted in blowing the delicate balls of dandelion fluff, and counting how many puffs it took to blow all the seeds away. (I have to confess that now I’m a ‘grown-up gardener’ I inwardly say, “Don’t blow them near my garden!”) The meadow buttercups, usually clinging close to the ground so they don’t have their heads cut off, this year are nearly three feet tall, golden cups on many branching stems. I remember we would hold the flowers under our chins to see the yellow reflection and ask our friends, “Do I like butter?” This morning I also saw tall upright clumps of cow parsley and wood dock, plenty of red clover – more purple than red, and in the gaps, vibrant blue speedwell were almost hidden. I even spotted tufts of yellow common bird’s-foot-trefoil, and tiny pink cut-leaved crane’s-bill.

Seeing all these native wild flowers on the grass verge of an urban housing estate, reminds me of a song we used to sing in assembly when I was at Infant school.

English: Comparison of the yellow flower and p...

Daisies are our silver,
Buttercups our gold.
This is all the treasure
We can have or hold.

Raindrops are our diamonds
And the morning dew;
While for shining sapphires
We’ve the speedwell blue.

These shall be our emeralds –
Leaves so new and green;
Roses make the reddest
Rubies ever seen.English: Red clover (Trifolium pratense), Well...

God, who gave these treasures
To your children small,
Teach us how to love them
And grow like them all.

Make us bright as silver,
Make us good as gold;
Warm as summer roses
Let our hearts unfold.

Bright as leaves in April,
Clear as drops of dew –
God, who made the speedwell,
Keep us true to you.

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