We are lucky enough to live in the countryside, away from the hustle, bustle and concrete of our former life in London. Yet it dawned on me the other day as my children were running around the acres of open woodland and the orchards and meadows of Lyveden New Bield (a National Trust site in East Northants) how little my children really know about flowers. They know their bugs, they know their wild animals, but children these days know very little about wildflowers – a part of nature we all took for granted when we were growing up.
So I set them a half-term challenge ‘Tell me about your favourite wildflower’……..
Millie aged 8 perused lots of images of wildflowers, on the i-pad of course, and proudly announced that she loves red clover. The fact it is pink ish in colour may have helped, along with the fact that it is a wildflower she recognised from the cow meadows of her grandfather’s farm on the edge of Exmoor. Feeling literary she wrote a poem explaining her choice.
‘Why I Like Red Clover’
Red clover swishing in the calm peaceful breeze
Makes me think of yellowy bees
Sucking out the sweet golden honey
And the big black cows munch it too
Henry aged 6 had very different reasons for his choice. Once his ‘googling’ identified that the name of the Cowslip comes from the word ‘cowslup’ meaning cow pat, there was no other choice! Not to be outdone, another poem followed:
On cow pats
With long green stalks and
Sunny yellow petals
Lit up by the sun
I like cowslips
In contrast, little George aged 2, goes for the simple pleasures in life. He adores dandelions as he can blow their seed heads – and frequently puts his bigger brother to work collecting them for him. He declined to write me a poem!
As for me, my favourite wildflowers are the luxury and simplicity of an area of meadow filled with an abundance of different varieties and the urge to run around in it just like my children do.