Friday, June 01, 2007

Grass, hydrangea, elderflower

We are in the habit of cutting grass and of seeing it in its cropped form on lawns and in fields. But grass in flower and run to seed, is another and a better thing. Cereal crops aside, we miss a great deal where grass is concerned. And it's not just the feathery heads running in the wind - cream, pale yellow, red, gold, blue. In my grass book, I find the following grass names: Sweet Vernal Grass, Holy Grass, Feather Grass, Timothy Grass, Sand Cat's Tail, Meadow Cat's Tail, Creeping Bent, Yorkshire Fog,Gray Hair-Grass, Cocksfoot, Common Quaking-Grass, Mountain or Nodding Melick, Hairy Melick, Love Grass.

Climbing up the front of a terrace house, the cream-coloured flowers and pointed serrated leaves of Hydrangea petiolaris. It is a useful plant to cover a north or north-east facing wall, where other climbers are less happy or not happy at all. I imagine it clinging to a rock face in the foothills of the Himalayas, where it originates.

At this time of year the white saucers of elder, flying up the hedgerows or at the edge of woods lift the spirit; their scent is peculiarly English and makes me think of the Enigma Variations.

1 comment:

Lucy said...

Ha, don't talk to me (or my lawnmower) about long grass! but you're right, the names and the seedheads are romantic and beautiful.