Spring On Luing
Leaving my partner happily asserting his right to evict the cat from his newly dug potato drills – this fine April morning saw me up sharp and heading to find a singularly lovely flowering plant I’d spotted on a brief walk earlier in the week. I’d taken no camera that day, and had woken each morning since wondering if the flower stalk would still be there..or if it would have vanished as quickly as it appeared. I was to encounter many spring flowers opening their faces to the loveliness of the spring sky.
Marsh Marigolds creep along the riverbank, hugging the road across to the east of the island, passing – and almost surpassing – the many primroses dotted shyly along verges of the road. The deeper yellow of these marigolds – like a giant buttercup with a frilly centre referred to as resembling one of the Queen Mother’s hats by my mother – occurs in such cheerful profusion here that I find it hard to believe they were once rare, in my childhood, in England.
On the hillside, a startling burst of orange turned out to be a large clump of Berberis, no doubt grown when a bird airily ejected a feast of the shrubs small fruits looted from a nearby garden below the hill. Tempted to wander off the road and up to the skyline I took warning from the upsurge of wind, forecast to bring snow ..and hurried to find the elusive plant.
An elegant swathe of hawthorn blossom distracted me from my original purpose and reminded me both of the works of Japanese artists, and of those I was not at home painting. Drawing indoors is for bad weather.
The mystical flower was, so far, nowhere to be seen. Thankfully I’d mis-remembered the site.. and discovered it a few metres down the road. I’ve promised a worthy member of the Luing Natural History Group that I wont reveal the plants whereabouts until I discover whether or not it’s rare. In the plant-guide it looks to be a Violet Birdsnest Orchid – but given my in-expertise I venture it’ll turn out to be as common as the soil it grows in.
As it’s of a colour I don’t often see in the wild, it will hold a special place in my heart, for, it reminded me of the beauty to be found, everywhere here. Right under my nose. Apparently, if my amateur identification skills are correct, it will turn out to have an unpleasant scent. So – said nose may keep a safe distance. On the other side of the island, to the west, snowstorms were gathering pace – under pressure to turn for home I quickly shot off a few photos of the purple prize. There’s no more to be said. The colour speaks for itself.
Spring on Luing.