Ballerina blossoms

As the first hedgerows started to show signs of greening up in early April, I was struck by sections of hedging unfolding the most beautiful soft, fresh green leaves, followed by large, upward-pointing pink buds. As the flowers started to open, I was able to identify them as quince trees (Cydonia oblonga), some of them growing to four metres or more, although the hedge cutting machine has been along and made them grow more like espaliers in places.

The more the blossoms open, the more striking the sight due to the size and number of the soft pink cup shaped flowers. They remind me of something a ballerina might wear.

Quince flower close up

Quince flower (Cydonia oblonga)

This is something I would love to have in my future garden. I must look up how easily, and how quickly, they grow from cuttings.

Quince blossoms

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Prehistoric plants

For such a warm, sunny part of the world, I am surprised at the amount of lichen and moss everywhere. Shrubs, trees and hedges are all covered with thick tufts of lichen which make me think more of prehistoric jungles than south west France, and stone walls are often thick with moss. I am no expert on lichens, but a brief bit of internet research suggests these tufty coverings may be Ramalina farinacea or similar.

Ramalina farinacea

Ramalina farinacea

It does make for some beautiful images, and along with the moss gives an other-worldly feel to certain woodland paths and trails.

Lichen covered blackthorn hedge

20170320_125108-1-1-120170406_094747Stone cross on mossy stone slabBushes draped with moss

 

Cowslips

One of the most incredible sights throughout February and March, and into April, has been the swathes of cowslips (primula veris) growing on roadside verges, and in meadows and gardens. 20170331_101729-1 (2)At first glance you might think they were dandelions or buttercups such is their abundance. (As an aside, dandelions are also common here, but buttercups far less so – at least at the moment – as I was pleased to note, my former East Sussex garden having been under constant threat of being completely taken over by them). 20170329_150002-1 1 (2)20170329_145922-1 (2)And some close-ups: