This year has proved to be quite exceptional in a variety of ways. Not least among these is the way that Mother Nature has compensated for a sunny and clear but remarkably frosty Spring by giving us a June that has been perfect for the hedge-rows and verges to grow and grow. The fact that Councils are becoming more reluctant to cut roadside verges (you see, they CAN get some things right – even if it is in the cause of cost-cutting!) has undoubtedly helped and we have been treated to successional displays of dandelions, buttercups, cow parsley, vetch, ox-eye daisies and many other attractive plants that have been truly gorgeous! While we may appreciate them on an aesthetic level, these flowers mean life or death to a huge range of pollinating insects and, if the insects are being helped, that in turn will help the birds and small mammals which also call the verges 'home'. Looking after wildlife is not something that happens far, far away – it can go on in the roadside verges that we drive past each day!
The flowers that grow in hedgerows and on verges are frequently under-valued, simply because they have not been purchased. My daughter, Elizabeth, trained as a florist and she is very enthusiastic about the arrangements that can be done using only wild flowers – she calls it 'Wild Floristry'. In this, she is not alone. In Tarvin, Doreen de Cani, who is doing the Chapel arrangements during this summer, has set herself the challenge of doing them without purchasing any flowers. This is NOT tight-fistedness – she really appreciates the beauty of the flowers that are growing in hedgerows, verges and field margins. And, as you can see from the photographs, the arrangements are truly lovely. Garden and commercial flowers can be beautiful – and they DO have their place, but the flowers that we walk past and ignore each day are lovely, too. We just have to look – or have someone highlight their beauty in an arrangement – in order for us to be able to see it.