Common Poppies and Sow Thistles in an uncultivated field margin

Field Margin Flowers 1- Common Poppies

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In recent weeks I have been watching the way that an uncultivated strip of ploughed ground at the edge of a large maize field has been colonised by wild plants. This wildlife opportunity, the potential to increase biodiversity, must have been a deliberate move on the part of the farmer. He had already left a 4 or 5 metre band of the spring crop standing after the rest had been harvested. (This was a tall rye-type grass that was possibly grown for hay or silage). The unsown margin between this grass and the hedge at the top of the field has been taken over by Nature during the summer months. The flowers have been providing food for many insect species, and the seeds will provide for the birds.

At first, I only noticed the bright red Common Poppies but, after a while, I began to see that beneath and around them were many more varieties of flowering arable weeds. I think I have identified about 20 species so far. The whole area is an intricate mosaic of plants. Some creep along the ground. Some reach up to varying heights. Some have minute flowers and others are large and very noticeable – like the tall yellow-flowering Sow Thistles. Most of them I have never been aware of before. I haven’t noted anything rare. They seem to be just common arable weeds – but such a joy the see.

This series presents some of the pictures I have taken, not only of individual plant types, but also the whole assemblage of plants. You had to look very carefully to discover what is hiding in plain sight.

2 Replies to “Field Margin Flowers 1- Common Poppies”

  1. Reading this post reminded me of our local braided river. It was an ocean of yellow evening primrose plants this past summer, along with fennel, tree lupins and mullein plants, to mention a few. This river, Waiariki/Eyre is quite ‘dry’, at least on the surface, until we have heavy rain – which came with disastrous results for land surrounding some of the other braided rivers in the South Island. Our river was completed scrubbed clean, and new courses formed. Farming has encroached and narrowed the river beds making the flow stronger. I wonder what the weed population will look like this spring and summer! At least the birds will be able to nest on the river bed. Our print group are having an exhibition, and I’m trying to do some prints of these plants – we have had another lockdown and we all are finding it hard to get good results. Hope you are all ok in the UK. Lovely to read your post! Thank you.

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  2. Thank you, Celia, for your lovely comments. It is so lovely to learn about nature in other parts of the world. It will be interesting to see what plants appear along your River Eyre next spring now that it has re-designed its channels. Good luck with your prints of this year’s plants and the forthcoming exhibition. Sorry to hear of the lockdown difficulties. Things have been difficult here in the UK too, and it is no way near over yet, but I have been safe so far. Thank you for asking.

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