Longest Day

Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire Nature Diary, Monday, 21st June 2010

meadowMeadow Area, 5.30 p.m.

THE DOCK spreads its leaves as an actor spreads his arms in a foppish bow in a Restoration comedy.

Yorkshire Fog - the grass with velvet-covered leaf-sheaths - is spreading its dusky pink-tinged flower-heads in a fizzy froth.

The unfurling flower-buds of the chicory have a sinister latent power about them - like a cobra poised to strike. I think I've used that simile for unfurling dock leaves in the past but perhaps my feelings about chicory are coloured by my view of them as the triffids of my rough patch of a meadow area. They swagger along, their rhizomes overcoming any barrier, such as a concrete path, put in the way of their progress. The crowns of leaves can be blanched for use in salads; I wonder if this applies to the wild variety. Perhaps I could eat my way through the meadow.

buttercupBy comparison, the creeping buttercup is the golden boy of the garden's weeds, even though 'he's' the one that is poisonous. Yes, he'll run rampant through the veg beds but not in the relentless there's-no-way-of-stopping-me way of the wild chicory.

Daisies are our silver,
Buttercups our gold

Was a line from a hymn we sang at primary school but the quote that I'd put with chicory would be the B-movie cliche 'You may stop me, but after me another will come . . . and then another'.

I'm going to have to trim this meadow into shape. And the surrounding hedges.