In a Vase on Monday: Wild

The footpaths, verges and hedgerows are erupting in a mass of frothy cow parsley, or Queen Anne’s lace, which billows and dances in the wind. It’s up at shoulder height in places and I couldn’t resist snapping off a few stems while out walking the dog this morning. Picking flowers from the wild is something I usually avoid – there are many species (such as broomrapes, orchids and saxifrages) that are protected by law in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and you’re not allowed to pick, uproot or destroy these. It is also illegal to uproot or destroy all wildflowers but not to pick a few pieces from unprotected species as long as you’re on public land (or you have the landowner’s permission). I think a bit of cow parsley is ok as there is plenty left for the bees and hoverflies.

Joining my foraged cow parsley in the jug are a couple of roses (inherited, unknown variety with a beautiful scent) and a pale, dusky aquilegia that was growing in the middle of the raspberries. I love the contrast between the dark stems and the pale, hooked petals with their lilac/pink blush. Almost all the other aquilegias that have popped up in the garden are dark purple; pale ones are unusual here. I’ve also added some Cerinthe major, which is looking almost metallic en-masse in the back border, the last of the dark ‘Queen of Night’ tulips and a stem of Centranthus ruber (red valerian). I read on Caro’s blog, An Urban Veg Patch, that red valerian leaves are edible. I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to eating ‘wild’ food so I haven’t tried them – have you?

It’s lovely to be joining other bloggers for Cathy’s gathering of Monday vases; she also has a soft-coloured aquilegia in her vase today.

Have a good week.



22 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday: Wild

  1. You have a rose – and lots of cow pasley froth for it to sit amongst! Lovely 🙂 I grew a number of aquilegia from seed a couple of year so have got quite a few interesting ones still, but if they start degenerating I shall yank them out 😉 Your en masse cerinthe must look stunning!

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  2. I wish I had some Queen Anne’s Lace on hand – I love the airy touch they add to both the border and the vase. Your floral collection this week is a delicious combination. As to the Centranthus, I have a LOT of it on hand (it’s a weed here) but I can’t say I’ve ever tasted the leaves…

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  3. Gorgeous. Those dark tulips are sensational aren’t they. The cow parsley is at peak froth round here at the moment, every verge looks absolutely beautiful. I pinched a bit too. My white climbing rose, Madame Alfred Carriere, has buds on it. The others not yet. I haven’t tried red valerian, although I do recall having valerian tea some years ago, wonder if that’s similar? It’s good for insomnia as I recall. I haven’t tried much wild stuff either, although I did have a go at hawthorn leaves because they’re called ‘bread and cheese’ and I needed to know whether they actually did taste like that. Wasn’t getting it. The middle boy, who fancies himself as a survival expert (despite being unable to bring himself to eat several varieties of vegetable) knows of about ten different ways to each birch trees. I’ll let you know if we get a round to it. CJ xx

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  4. I am a bit of a wuss when it comes to wild food, especially the varieties growing close to the ground… I didn’t know you could eat valerian. Anyway, your vase full of happiness is beautiful. x

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  5. The rose and Cerinthe go beautifully together Sam. How lovely to have cow parsley all around you in the countryside too. I have now seen two vases where Centranthus was used just as it opens and I am definitely going to copy that when mine gets to that stage as it is so very pretty. I have got loads in the garden but have never tried eating the leaves… maybe tomorrow I’ll be adventurous and report back! 😉

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  6. It’s hard to resist picking a little bit of cow parsley when there’s so much of it – I snapped a few stems last time I was at the allotments as the hedgerows are full of it. I’m amazed that you’ve got roses already, lucky you as it’s such a gorgeous colour! Cerinthe will always be a favourite. In the past it’s grown in singles but this year I have a couple of big clumps and it looks just amazing – with the bonus that they’re propping each other up! Oh, and to answer CJ’s question, Valerian tea (Valeriana) and Valerian flower (Centranthus ruber) are not the same. But you probably knew that already 😉 Thanks for the link back to my blog, Sam, much appreciated! Cx


  7. I must confess that I rarely come home from my walks without something in my hand. The kids joke about it. Usually, it’s a mini-bouquet of wildflowers, or a leafy twig. I found a tiny wild rose growing from the moss in the elbow of a tree last year, just three leaves on a stem. I brought that home and minded it and it’s still growing in the garden. I am more aware now, of leaving flowers for the bees and bugs, and certainly less likely to take armfuls, but surely a bunch of wildflowers is one of life’s purest pleasures.

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  8. Cow parsley is such a fantastic backdrop to everything at this time of year. Overnight we finally got some rain (hurray), but this morning I was soaked at the end of our walk from all the stored water on the cow parsley umbels. I love your dark aquilegias, sadly mine are scarcely in evidence this year. I am thinking that they might be suffering from that new disease 😦

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