There are lots of wildflowers about along the edge of the Trent and Mersey canal, adding splashes of colour and subtle fragrances. Some of them I knew the names for; others, I needed to be told by my far more knowledgable friend. I certainly recognised bullrushes, bright yellow buttercups, clear blue forget-me-nots and the pale purple clover. There was also a lot of white. Some of it was the may blossom of the hawthorn and blackthorn trees, which are showing beautifully at the moment. The rest was cow parsley.
Cow parsley is a wildflower which I love because of the connections it has with my childhood. When I was growing up, the busy road where my dad still lives, was little more than a quiet country lane. There were no houses opposite, only fields with hedgerows and all along the hedgerow was cow parsley. It was prolific and bloomed vigorously every year. For quite a few weeks, the whole roadside would be a show of white, gradually turning to seed which scattered ready for the following spring.
About four years ago, I collected some seeds from a patch of cow parsley and scattered them in the longer grass towards the bottom of my garden. The first year, I only had a couple of plants, but each year they have increased in number, until now, I have quite a show brightening up the shady place under the pear tree.