Meadow Buttercup – Ranunculus acris

I suspect that a great number of people share the childhood memories of holding a buttercup flower under one’s chin to ‘see if one likes butter’. The yellowness that buttercups reflect is striking, but it is a pale imitation of their sunny faces. I remember picking fistfuls of buttercups as a child (albeit a different species) and putting them into a little ceramic vase my mother had. They looked so cheerful on a windowsill, brightening up the whole room, and even on cloudy days they were brighter than the slightly worn gilt on the rim of that impeccably white little vase. Continue reading “Meadow Buttercup – Ranunculus acris”

White Bryony – Bryonia dioica

Background

One sunny day last year, I was standing on a carpet of freshly raked out wood chips in a clearing at Wrest Park. Wrest Park is located in rural Bedfordshire, England. It is a very old garden, dating back to at least the 13th century, and it was owned by the same family for over 600 years. The last of that household, the DeGrey family, sold the house to an American diplomat in 1917, after which it changed hands serval times. It is currently owned and operated by English Heritage, a nonprofit organization which is perhaps better known for its historic stonework (including several castles and, notably, Stonehenge). However, they also run some very interesting gardens – Wrest Park being a particular example. Continue reading “White Bryony – Bryonia dioica”