Now comes the season of the rambling, scrambling flowers, when each species seeks to surpass its neighbour for space and sunshine, and to outgrow the seeding grasses. The colour scheme is mainly purple and yellow, and the mix within this palette is sometimes startling. Even the wishy-washy scabious looks handsome when combined with vibrantly purple thistles. Here are the new blooms spotted since my last flower blog:
Chicory: As soon as I see chicory in the borders, I know that not many new spring species will appear. Its pale blue flowers presage the fading of the breeze-washed bright blue sky towards a more pastel shade as the heat-haze sets in. Chicory is prized for its edible leaves (very bitter) and for its root, which can be used as an additive to or substitute for coffee.
Love-in-a-Mist: The wild type is usually paler than the cultivated one, which was popular in Victorian gardens. Its blue flowers are surrounded by delicate thread-like green bracts, giving them a hazy appearance.
Un-named. A lovely delicate bluish flower seen on the Pantokrator range, but we’re not sure what it is.
Scolopax: The beautiful Woodcock Orchid was spotted growing on the Corfu Trail near Tristrato.
Pink and Purple
Flax: This spectacular salmon-pink flower is, I have been told, related to the blue flax which blooms earlier.
Allium: Now rearing their handsome heads in roadside borders.
Pink: The name of the flower, not just the colour. Actually, the word ‘pink’ denoting a colour derives from the flower and not the other way round.
Salvia? A lovely tall flower with silverdown leaves and lobed pink flowers which I think is a type of salvia.
Scabious: A deep pink variety with a more rounded head.
Hollyhock: Drive along ‘Hollyhock Avenue’ (the road between Agii Deka and Strongili) at the end of May and first part of June and you’ll see roadside Hollyhocks of every colour, from pink-tinged white to the deepest maroon.
Candytuft: A pink-tinged wild variety grows on the limestone of the Pantokrator range. Its name refers to the town of Chania in Crete, not to sweeties.
Watercress: It’s growing in a spring-fed ditch near Ermones, but now it’s in flower the leaves are no longer edible.
Rock Rose: This delicate primrose-coloured flower likes rocky hillsides.
Yellow Horned Poppy: A lovely poppy which grows by the sea, particularly on the littoral edges of stony beaches. At Avlaki it was growing together with its cousin the red poppy, decorating the roadside verge with splashes of colour.
Woad: Common along the North-East Coast road. But… how come a yellow flower can produce blue dye? Well, the blue powder famously used by the ancient Brits for their warpaint is extracted from the dried leaves. So now you know… Man Orchid: We spotted this rare yellowy-green orchid on the Pantokrator range. It grows mainly on the mountain.
Broom and Gorse: Above the olive-line, the open hillsides are alive with the vibrant gold of these two bushes.