Nature has many ingenious ways of designing a flower. I thought I would share three flowers that have caught my eye this week.
I’m sorry, but this is just the word that pops into my head every time I see these long, pendulous catkins.
dingle–dangle definition: Adjective. (obsolete) Hanging loose; swinging backwards and forwards.
Our cobnut has never had so many catkins. They are jiggling in the breeze.
Cobnuts are a cultivated variety of hazel. Eaten fresh, they are sweeter than a hazelnut. They have a slight coconut flavour. As they ripen they get sweeter and juicier. But we wouldn’t know, because of the wretched squiggles.
Since December these catkins have been giving me delight. You can see them in their unripe form in the post ‘Pops and Neutrals‘, when they looked like honeycomb. Then in their joyous golden prime in ‘Fresh Minty Green‘.
The catkins have now opened up and released their clouds of pollen. Catkins are the male flower. Hazel and cobnuts rely wind-pollination, and so have to release masses of pollen in the hope that some of it lands on the female flowers of neighbouring trees.
At the top of each catkin, where it attaches to the branch, you can see the tiny little red star of the female flower. (I love this photo with the blue sky and orange of the blurry catkins behind).
It may be tiny, but the bright red burst is radiant in the sunlight. At the base of the flower is the ovary. This will turn into the cobnut if the flower is fertilised.
2. Simplicity Itself
The primrose’s name means ‘first rose’. Like species roses, primroses have five petals, with the reproductive organs at the centre of the flower. The deeper colour at the centre (which is seen in many simple flowers) is there to show the pollinating insects where the booty is.
It is a simple design, and it works.
Because primroses are insect-pollinated, they also produce a lovely scent to signal their ripeness.
I love the simplicity of a primrose. Each petal is heart-shaped. Each flower occupies its own space, not encroaching on anyone else.
They might be small and simple, but they are true to themselves. They wouldn’t want to be any other way.
3. A Little Work of Art
If the primrose is simple, the Dwarf iris is anything but.
First let’s look at them from this angle:
And then from this:
Even their buds are miniature paintings. On the outside of the petal they have a distinct green tinge, which is fabulous with the purple.
Then they open out and there is some sort of dragon face on each petal.
It is the form of this flower that I so admire. It is like a little sculpture. The angle of each petal, and the space between, is just perfect. It should be no other way.
It also has a certain cheekiness, as if it is blowing a raspberry.
These are the three flowers that have given me most delight in the garden this week. Each is perfectly itself. Each occupies its space. Each has its own dignity.
How about you? Do you have a favourite spring form?
The Mindful Gardener likes to notice the little things in life. If your life is a bit of a whirl, you might like to take five minutes twice a week to sit down and enjoy some simple pleasure. I try to share with you what is good in the garden right now.
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