Himalayan Balsam

What's this beautiful plant? If you've come across a drift of pink and white helmet-shaped flowers on a riverbank somewhere, bees buzzing happily in and out of those many blossoms, then you might think you've found the loveliest wild flower ever.

You haven't.

This is Impatiens glandulifera, Himalayan Balsam, which is indeed a beautiful plant. But it's also a nasty invasive alien plant which is doing a great deal of destruction to our native flowers. It spreads via its exploding seeds (which are cool, but also bad. Sorry) and can completely swamp all other native plants in an area. It also leaves river banks vulnerable to erosion because it dies back completely in the winter, thus leaving the soil exposed. In short, it's beautiful but bad.

If you see it, the best thing to do is to record it through the PlantTracker app, and, if you can, pull some of it up. Many local wildlife groups have action days to try to remove as much of this plant as possible, so do have a look out for those too.

Sorry to burst your bubble of happiness. But we are #wildflowerhour and we want to celebrate lovely wild flowers, not sneakily beautiful plants that escaped from gardens and are smothering the wild flowers.

 

 

from #wildflowerhour http://www.wildflowerhour.co.uk/blog/2017/08/16/himalayan-balsam/

Wonderful weeds

So many people have been in touch to say that the #wildflowerhour challenges are making them look for more flowers, learn about plants they’d overlooked, and focus on the beauty of every day rather than the humdrum aspects.

So this week, we’re encouraging you to focus on the real everyday beauty: ‘weeds’. Now, we all know that a weed is just a plant in a place where it isn’t wanted, and for botanists, there are very few places where plants aren’t wanted. So as you go about your days, look at the cracks in the pavements, the untended flower beds, the wasteland and the gutters to see what you can find in bloom. Weeds might annoy philistines, but they bring great joy to plant hunters.

As ever, it’s easy to take part. Just post what you’ve found in bloom this week in Britain and Ireland either in our Facebook group or on Twitter using the hashtag #wildflowerhour.

Here are some ideas from the past few months to get you going:

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from #wildflowerhour http://www.wildflowerhour.co.uk/blog/2017/08/15/wonderful-weeds/

Wildlife flowers

What a lot of joy this week’s challenge brought. Every week’s challenge does, but it was so splendid to see so many flowers covered in happy bees and bugs. And that’s because wild flowers don’t just give us joy: they give critters joy, and life too. So well done for finding so many.

Here are some highlights:

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And here are all your beautiful buzzing tweets and Facebook posts:

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from #wildflowerhour http://www.wildflowerhour.co.uk/blog/2017/08/14/wildlife-flowers/

13 August

Whoosh!

What was that? That was #wildflowerhour, which is now so busy that it whizzes past you every Sunday night. What a ball we had this evening. Thank you to everyone who shared photos, took part in our challenge, and helped out with identifying mystery plants.

Our star image this week is from John Martin. What a beauty it is, what a talented bunch of photographers we have.

Though #wildflowerhour started on Twitter, it’s now buzzzing on Facebook. Here are some highlights from our group.

And here are some top moments from Twitter. More to come over the week.

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from #wildflowerhour http://www.wildflowerhour.co.uk/blog/2017/08/13/13-august/

Wild flower kids

How many of us first fell in love with flowers when we were children? Yes, there are many grown-up bits of botany, like measuring the width of stems and examining glandular hairs, but at the bottom of all of it is still that simple childlike love of plants.

Many of us connect that love with the people who brought us up: grandparents who shared beautiful old botany books, parents who pointed out particularly special plants growing in the hedgerow, and so on. And many of us are now trying to encourage the children in our lives to feel that excitement about a new flower they haven’t seen before kindling in them too.

 

So #wildflowerkids is go. We’ll be launching lots of fun things for children to take part in over the next few weeks, but for this week, it’s the wild life challenge that they can take part in. You can tweet what you’ve found with kids or post in our Facebook group – just remember to add the #wildflowerhour or #wildflowerkids hashtags to any tweets.

Every hour is a #wildflowerhour, but between 8-9pm on a Sunday we have a proper planty party. If you’re busy with bedtime or lying on the sofa with a glass of wine groaning at that time, then just post what you’ve found whenever you fancy. We’ll be watching.

To get you started, here are some tips on introducing children to wild flowers. 

from #wildflowerhour http://www.wildflowerhour.co.uk/blog/2017/08/12/wild-flower-kids/

Do you recognise these plants?

Can you help fellow #wildflowerhour members? The plants listed below are a mystery to the person who found them. You tweet them with the #wildflowerhour hashtag, or post them in our Facebook group, and we add them to the list for everyone to dive in with their suggestions and tips. Easy.

A tip: if you want a good chance of a decent ID, please take pictures of at least the leaves as well as the flowers. Here are some more ways to recognise wild flowers.

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from #wildflowerhour http://www.wildflowerhour.co.uk/blog/2017/08/10/do-you-recognise-these-plants-8/