Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Delicious autumn

I made the most of last Sunday, knowing that during the following 3 days we were in for a thorough soaking. A little clichéd perhaps but the stillness and warmth of the day created a kind of calm, gentle and quiet sense of rescue as I walked the paths at the Brickworks in the afternoon. Some days you feel more vulnerable than others but find that you are met, in this tender state, by a natural world which is perfectly in tune. There are no harsh, discordant notes or searing shocks to the system, only harmony and a gentleness of light, warmth and colour. You take it in with ease and relief, and your breathing slows, your muscles relax and your mind expands.

One of the trails at Bovingdon Brickworks

And....then you spot the first blooms of Common Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris). It may well be a common plant of “waste grounds, grasslands, roadside verges and hedgerows”, but it’s bright, sunny and delicious to behold. It’s common name of “Butter and Eggs” is no accident. It’s all yellows and oranges and frilly and interesting. You can’t help but take a closer look.



As the days shorten and the trees lose their leaves, these hardy bloomers may well go on flowering right through November. For the herbalists amongst us, if you happen to be bloated or constipated, this yella fella is right up your street. It has strong laxative and diuretic properties, as well as containing painkilling and anti-inflammatory effects to help heal wounds (not that I’m advocating Toadflax stew or the like, you understand). Yes, it’s common, but at the right time, in the right place, it can feel like you’ve stumbled upon trumpets of autumn sunshine.

8 comments:

  1. Most evocative Lucy. Nature as a balm is underrated!

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    1. Thanks Steve. Yes, some days, it’s definitely the best medicine.

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  2. Super write up Lucy. A great read indeed.

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  3. Our toadflax has gone over now, sadly. It's a beautiful plant, also known as snapdragon, I believe. We too are now in the mire of foul weather, but obviously, I'm still getting out.

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    1. Hi Si, the area where this particular crop of toadflax can be found was harvested for silage 2 months ago. Following that, some plants have come back with vigour!

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  4. Another great post Lucy, I love toadflax. I gathered seeds to scatter at ML last year but no signs of any yet. Will try again.

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    1. Thanks Martin. I'm glad I'm not alone in loving this plant. What a great idea to gather seeds to scatter at ML I hope you can get it to take eventually. I had similar thoughts about Field Scabious as there isn't any in the Westbrook Hay meadows. So many insects love it, it seems a shame to have so little on the land. Hope you're keeping busy and well :o).

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