Monthly Archives: April 2013

Beautiful Bulbs in Boggy Borders

A windy day spring day in Henley’s Greenlands campus has supplied me with some nice pics of some bulbs for moist soils. The Snakes head fritillary above lives on water meadows, it is the County flower of Oxford. Much of its habitat was removed during and after the WW2 when it was ploughed up for vegetable growing.

The Leucojum aestivum or summer snow flake is a nice plant, strapping leaves and white flowers with green flecks. It’s other common name is the Loddon lily, as it was supposed to native to Berkshire where it is the national the County flower.

This is Narcissus Actea, it’s a very classy Daff; it’s very similar to N. Pheasants Eye which is last Daff to flower in Mid May. Nice.



These plants are native to the UK in chalk/limestone areas, mainly on undisturbed soils. As they grow on ancient barrows, earth mounds, hill forts they were thought to have grown where Dane or Roman blood had been spilled. It is now a rare plant in the wild and these pictured are a bred variety .

Iris japonica

This plant was grown on campus 200 years ago when the it was owned by Marquis of Blandford. His wife was an accomplished botanical painter and there are about 80 prints including one of this plant at Blenheim palace. They moved to Blenheim when he became Duke of Malborough in 1817. Most are rare and very tender; it would be nice to collect them all again and wheel them out occasionally.

The Natives Were Nice!


The leaves on this plant give it it’s vernacular name ‘Lungwort’ people used to believe that resemblance in plants to physical things was a sign of the use they could be put too. The spotted leaves on this plant where similar to fetid lungs (nice!) and where used to treat lung disorders of various types. The genus Pulmonaria has some native species and again there are loads of varieties; it’s a good shady area doer in spring. 20130416-222129.jpg


This is Wood Anemone the scientific name is Anemone nemorosa, it’s a native plant that flowers in woods before the canopy closes. It is a good indicator of ancient woodland i.e. woods that are over 400 years old. Its slow growing – 6ft every hundred years so wont take over the garden! We have it in various places on White knights campus. These pics are from areas on the edge of woods or meadows so may have been planted. We planted a relative Anemone hollandica of this in some beds outside the library, in fact 1000. I am not sure if its the squirrels or the planting depth but we have about 30 showing so far, this is not a good percentage. Back to the drawing board and more patience I feel. href=””>20130416-222146.jpg

Chionodoxa lucililae




What I like about this plant is the fact he named it after his wife Lucille. Also the images above show loads of variation in this one patch. The species C.lucililae is likely to the one with larger and fewer flowers, this includes the one with recurred petals. The one with loads of flowers is likely to be C.ishei which is the common garden variety.