I’ve been to Doune at different times of the year, In spring the foxglove dominates the countryside, in summer it’s the wild orchid, and in autumn the blue scabious, such a pretty little flower on a long bare stem, grows in profusion, among the grasses and the meadow hawkweed.
These two small photos were just experiments with my camera, but I think they turned out well enough.
Of course being the middle of September, the heather was still in flower. In fact even some earlier flowering bell heather was still in bloom. It usually puts in an appearance in early July whereas the ling blossoms later, in August.
Here’s some heather growing with some bog myrtle. Bog myrtle is quite good for keeping the midges at bay, midges, for the uninitiated, being tiny mosquito type insects that can be a positive pain in the neck in mild humid or damp situations. On the west there are millions of them – and even if they don’t bite (it’s only the females that do the biting), just their flying around you is enough to really hack you off! Kenneth McKellar, a very popular Scottish singer of the latter years of the 20th century, wrote a silly wee song about the midges…. describing them as having teeth like piranhas, and a friend says that it wouldn’t matter how many you killed, there would be thousands more that would come to the wake!
They really do seem to be particularly vicious on the west coast in summer, and those of you who, like me, are particularly tasty to the little….creatures, will be very grateful for some sprigs of bog myrtle around your person! You can crush the leaves and rub them on your face and arms, or simply tuck a small spring behind your ears! The little son of a friend of mine once heard his mum talking about bog myrtle and got hold of the wrong end of the stick. “Why’s it called bog mental?” he asked, and bog mental it has remained to us, ever since! That wee lad is now about 20!
Here are both types of heather growing together. The traditional Scots heather is calluna vulgaris, or ling, and a whole hillside of the stuff scents the air with honey. In fact heather honey is really the bees knees of honeys, if you’ll pardon my little joke there about the bees! Bell heather is named for its flower shape, its latin name though is Erica Cineria.
Unfortunately, these days,bracken is crowding the heather hills and choking it. It’s not ragwort that councils should be pulling out by the sides of roads, it’s the ever evasive bracken. I didn’t have the heart to uproot this tiny little bracken though!
No yellow flower but this is the silver weed, the undersides of the leaves appearing silvery.
Well, this was going to be Flora and fauna, but I think the fauna has to wait till next time! I’ve gone a bit overboard with the flowers. Anyway, hope you aren’t over bored!
Talk again soon.