Over the barley field, just before the footpath crosses the railway line, there's an untidy piece of ground which is home to an old trailer and a heap of builders' rubble which varies in its size and constitution; sometimes it's mostly soil dug out from footings, at other times it's home to old bricks from demolished walls. And unbelievably perhaps, it's frequently ablaze with flowers.
I pass by here often and usually make at least one circuit of the rubble heap to see what's on show. I was planning for a blogpost at the end of summer to show the variety of blooms as they progressed, but I already have a large folder of pictures so I thought I'd share some now.
In Spring there was a good crop of oil-seed rape or Canola as it's known in some parts of the world, a few sprigs of White Campion and the first leaves of Cow Parsley. All sorts of plants arrive here - wild flowers, garden flowers and agricultural crops - depending, I suppose, on where the builders have most recently been digging their trenches.
Early morning, when I usually pass by, is great for against-the-light shots as the sun peeps over the heap and illuminates the flowers against a dark background, like the White Campion above.
And always there are plenty of poppies, both the wild and garden varieties. The biology of the poppy is a mystery to me: how is it that simply disturbing the soil can yield such a wealth of blooms? How come that even on land that's been subjected to weed-killing sprays for years there's always seed left to germinate whenever the farmer fails to maintain his campaign of extermination? Just how much poppy seed is there in the soil?
Various thistles thrive here too, their prickliness preventing us from appreciating their full beauty. Ah, I've known a few folks like that!
Last time I visited and made my erratic and unhurried way around, a word popped into my head, a word my father had in his vocabulary, the verb to "soodle". "No use you soodling up here when all the hard work's done", he used to tease me and anyone else who was more than a minute or two late for work!
I wondered if "soodle" was a real word so I looked it up and found my dad was in good company. The only reference I could find to it was in a poem by the great peasant poet John Clare:
And as I soodled on and on,
The ground was warm to look upon,
it e'en invited one to rest,
The ground was warm to look upon,
it e'en invited one to rest,
And have a nap upon its breast
Thus spake the poet in his verse "Holywell", written in about 1820. (W H Auden used the word too, but he probably filched it from Clare's work). John Clare came from Helpston in Northamptonshire, just thirty miles from where we lived.
The Cow Parsley (or Queen Anne's Lace, as it's sometimes called in England - the name refers to a different plant in some other countries) soon comes into flower for a brief but glorious period.
...and it's leaves can even look attractive when they are dying off.
Oh, and more poppies!
Someone has seen fit to dump an old bicycle here and the Ox-eye Daisies are trying to beautify even that. I suppose if you must litter then better to choose a piece of waste ground like this. Though I'm not sure the workmen will see it like that when they come with their excavator and lorry to take a load hard-core for their latest job.
Common Mallow flowers throughout June. As its name suggests it's a common wayside weed in this part of the world, but no less pretty for that. Yes, there is a plant called Marsh Mallow too and a sweet used to be made from its roots. Over time that evolved into the modern-day confection, though there's no trace of the plant in the modern treat.
If the builders don't come and clear everything - as sometimes happens - we may be back here again, later in the year. But before I soodle off....
This being a Friday (or as near as I can tell in these confusing times) I should include a musical selection, as first suggested by Robin Andrea and Roger over at The New Dharma Bums blog. A while ago I included a piece of music that featured the West African harp or Kora, played by Seckou Keita, in duet with the standard harp of Catrin Finch. Someone said they couldn't hear the Kora very well so here are two Koras played together by the father and son, Toumani and Sidike Diabate. As it should be the weekend of Glastonbury Festival I give you this lovely instrumental recorded there....
Both Toumani (the father, seated left) and Sidike often collaborate with musicians from other genres, but this is their own heritage. To continue the theme from the earlier part of the post you might call it "hardcore Malian".
Bright, beautiful, and tenancious. I needed this encouragement this evening.
And love the word soodle.
I have masses and masses of failed pictures of poppies that I've been taking for about a week. They are clustered in a small patch of neglected ground in the company of a small chest freezer full of rubbish, a collapsed bed complete with mattress and various other things. The puzzle is that I don't think the ground has been disturbed.ReplyDelete
The photos you have here are lovely.
It is encouraging to see nature reclaiming its own. The term Canola was coined in Canada for a strain of rape that was developed here - Can denoting Canda and ola, oil.ReplyDelete
I love how you have captured the beauty of nature covering the junk. Such bright colors - love the tissue paper thinness of the poppy. Those musicians are amazing and I have sent the video to my punk rock son whose fingers fly with a louder more raucous music! Thanks for a great post!ReplyDelete
What a lovely post, it delights me that nature puts on such a good show to counteract the mess that we humans make. The against-the-light photos are beautiful. Flowers, Clare and music - quite a feast!ReplyDelete
The flowers there are so beautiful. You remind me that I really need to photograph the flowers we see out on our neighborhood walks. Thistle here too! The music is so beautiful. What a sound from that Kora. We loved it!ReplyDelete
I enjoyed the video. And I love all the flowers. Especially the poppies. I think they are so beautiful. Unfortunately, I never had any luck growing them. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.ReplyDelete
The flowers are all so lovely especially the poppies!ReplyDelete
It's amazing how many plants can thrive in poor soil conditions, especially poppies. Your white campion photo is absolutely beautiful. The music is lovely, very melodic.ReplyDelete
Lovely flower images, John, and it's encouraging to see so much beauty growing out of rubble.ReplyDelete
Those poppies pop up everywhere don’t they?ReplyDelete
you just can't stop the flowers! Thank goodness. I was amazed to the the very large fields of rape seed in France last May. Driving through the north country, it was awash in yellow-gold.ReplyDelete
oh, my, I would love to have taken some of these poppy shots...you really got some great captures. So strange, when I was young, I did not care a lot for poppies and over the past few years, they have become a favorite. These are just so pretty, I have no words.ReplyDelete
Great to see the way nature takes over bare ground (or rubbish dumps). Love the Kora.ReplyDelete
brownfield nature sites are fantastic and much under-ratedReplyDelete
I love the way that flowers and plants take over all these neglected places. Your photos are wonderful:)ReplyDelete
beautiful plants and photos.ReplyDelete
Oh, wow, I had to come back to listen to the music...it is so awesome!ReplyDelete
The poppies always remind me of fields in England. I never see any here in Ontario, not in this part anyway.ReplyDelete
'Soodle' is a new word for me and I have to admit that so too is 'filched' though I did have a good idea what it meant.ReplyDelete
Delightful flower images amongst the rubble. I love to see clusters of poppies along hedgerows and on embankments etc, they brighten a dull day!
I totally agree with 'Share my garden'......Flowers, Clare and music - quite a feast!
That's the most beautiful rubbish dump I have seen in a long time John.ReplyDelete
As others have commented, John, it is amazing the beauty that nature often provides in the most unlikely places. And not surprisingly it seems to thrive more in places like rubbish piles or where items have been neglected like old cars, and equipment and even old buildings. I liked the story about the marsh mallow.ReplyDelete
Nature's beauty is stunning!ReplyDelete
Photos are awessome - music is amazing. Thank you for a great post.ReplyDelete
I am absolutely going to pinch that soodling word John, love it! Poppies are unbelievable, they look so delicate yet are so incredibly tough and enduring! Love the way nature beautifies this dumping ground. Excellent father/son music video.. Africa has many,many talented artists ✨ReplyDelete
ohh Ilove those wild poppies!Beautiful summer photoes :)))ReplyDelete
Those poppies are SOOO captivating! Such a comparatively simple bloom, yet it commands attention! Thanks for sharing John.ReplyDelete
Hi John - lovely shots of the 'weeds' that pop up and will continue to ... gorgeous. Love the word 'soodle' ... and I'll beg borrow and steal the word and phrase for small write up I need to do for a lady who used to teach English ... she'll be 86 soon - I don't know her that well - but John Clare and your words will ring true and appropriately for her.ReplyDelete
While the Kora music is just wonderful ... and I'll definitely be looking up more to hear from Toumani and Sidike Diabate - amazing musicians ... just loved listening to it ...
Thank you - stay safe and yes more from your rubbish tip please!! And that sort of music - all the best, Hilary