As part of its silver jubilee Plantlife has launched a poll to find the nation’s favourite wild flower. You have twenty five to choose from and as you flick through the list to cast your vote you realise how beautiful they are, making the choice even more difficult.
At this time of year the landscapes of the UK are slowly coming alive with a canvass of colour. Spring is the season to make your heart sing and your spirits soar. It’s when the natural world comes alive, the evenings start getting a little bit lighter and the clocks change, giving us that precious extra hour of daylight.
And it’s particularly special when it comes to wild flowers. The months ahead will be awash with one plant related treat after another – in our meadows, woodland, coastal cliffs…
Looking through the list created a whole load of memories for me. It reminds me of the places that I’ve been as a kid, the places that I have taken my children and the places that I’d like to visit.
You have the almost bomb proof lesser celandine that occupy a patch of green outside my daughter and son’s school; this lovely little yellow flower manages to withstand the herd of kids as they flood out of school. It comes backing fighting adding a splash of colour to the park.
Primroses remind me of my childhood. Driving through the quintessential Devon lanes at Easter the hedgerows and banks would be awash with this subtle flower. I can see them now as I type, taking me back to journeys up to Dartmoor or to north Devon.
Bluebells will be the natural front runners for this poll, with legions of supporters gathering a head of steam to get out the vote. I love bluebells too and there is a patch of urban woodland near Junction 16 of the M4 in Swindon that comes alive with the carpet of colour in April and May. I have never been to walk through the bluebells at this hidden bit of woodland but this poll is likely to get me out there.
So the choices are tough. All are great candidates and would be a worthy winner.
But I have to declare my voting intentions. It has to be the snakes head fritillary. Wow what a plant. Every time I see one I’m bowled over. It’s delicate and slightly unreal. Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Scottish architect and designer, captured this flower perfectly in one of his drawings. I saw one of these plants, an early bloomer at Bath City Farm, gently blowing in the wind; it drew me in and had me captivated. It might not be the most common of flower but it’s one that we need to celebrate.
At a time when 20% of wild flowers are under threat we need to stand up for the role that they have played in our national story and make sure that the turnout in this online vote is as high as possible. That way we’ll show our love for wild flowers and that we need to make sure that future generations can enjoy them too.