The Easter sunshine has brought many of the wildflowers in Bosinver’s woodland and hedgerows out into bloom. The snowdrops and daffodils which line our lanes in early spring have all gone over now, but instead there are plenty of primroses, violets and emerging bluebells around to spot.
Few flowers have more folklore associated with them than the primrose – the ‘prima rosa’ or first roses of spring. Their bright yellow flowers used to be used to make love potions and there are many stories based on the plant’s alleged ability to open the doors to the fairy world.
Violets abound in Cornish hedgerows and posies of the fragrant variety – the sweet violet were traditionally harvested and sent up to London by train for sale. The more common dog violet has no such smell but its flower is just as beautiful.
Periwinkles are a common sight in Cornwall’s lanes during the springAnother purple flower you may see in our lane is the periwinkle – cultivated versions can be white or various shades of purple but the wild version is a lovely blueish purple which gives its name to the colour periwinkle blue.
You can’t miss the yellow archangel at this time of year here either – it’s an upright plant related to the dead nettle or mint family, with unusual shaped yellow flowers – the form we have at Bosinver is actually a cultivated escapee from the gardens but it has naturalised in our hedgerows.
Our lane is full of unfurling hart’s tongue ferns too, so called because the narrow leaves were thought to resemble the tongue of a deer – or hart in old English.
Towards the end of April, bluebells spread like a stunning carpet at places like the National Trust’s Lanhydrock Estate near Bodmin and Enys Gardens near Penryn. Bosinver’s top field and woodland are good places to enjoy these magical flowers too. They have long been associated with woodland fairies – check out this whimsical bluebell video from Visit Cornwall.
If you are interested in wild flowers and plants and more specifically, how they can be used as food, then you might enjoy a walk with expert forager Emma Gunn – Emma of ‘Nevermind the Burdocks’ (who also works at the Eden Project), will be offering occasional walks at Bosinver from the end April, in which she will identify at least 10 edible plants and suggest ways of cooking with them.
Guests who joined one of Emma’s foraging walks at Bosinver last year were amazed by her extensive knowledge and found it fascinating. Check our noticeboard for dates and times (usually Thursdays from 4.30) – a one hour walk is £8 per adult and £2 per child. We also have a good selection of books on wildflowers in reception for you to borrow.
If you’d like to enjoy wildflowers at home and help our native bees which have been struggling in recent years, why not leave a corner of garden a little less tidy than the rest and sow some native species which are great for butterflies too. Flora Locale have an extensive list of suppliers and if you make a ‘habitat pile’ of leaves or branches it will attract lots of other wildlife too – bugs, hedgehogs and even toads. Go on, go wild!