I almost didn’t take a photo of the female lion drinking because I was shocked by how she was down on her haunches. I forgot for a moment that lions don’t have to worry who is near them because they are not prey animals. We were used to seeing antelope and zebra, who stand nervously when they drink, ready to take flight at the slightest disturbance. Lions can relax and drink however they like.
As a youngster in Leeds, I used to walk to Roundhay Park . On the way there I would suddenly catch the smell of patches of wildflowers by the hedges. They smelled of a mixture of garlic and onion, sweet and not very strong, and you had to cock your head and catch the wind and hunt for it.
It was Jack by the Hedge, a name I have always liked. The Latin name is Alliara petiolata. This particular plant is growing in our garden, unbidden. And it’s possible that in a busy year, in the general course of ‘tidying up’ I would have rooted it out almost before it appeared.
Well maybe, but what I do know is that this lockdown has slowed me down. I am simply appreciating more the things that do things on their own – plants that grow, for example.
One thing I learned now, researching for this short article, is that it is a biennial and in its first year’s growth the leaves are heart shaped. Then in its second year a spike grows in the middle of the plant and the second year leaves are pointy like an arrowhead, with serrated edges.
So, I can conclude that I did not grub it out in previous years, because if I had then it would not be showing second year leaves now. Good for me!
Other names for the plant are Hedge Garlic, Garlic Mustard, Poor Mans Mustard, Penny Hedge, but I like Jack by the Hedge.
On our walks allowed under the lockdown strictures, we sometimes pass the grounds of one of the Cambridge University colleges. The grounds adjoin a road, and then as one walks into the parkland, the grounds back onto what is effectively a moat. The moat divides the grounds from the public parkland.
When we first moved here I thought the water might be a branch of the river Cam, but the river is about three hundred metres further north.
The water here is just a ribbon that goes from point A to point B, and at the moment it is covered in fine green algae. I’ll photograph it at some point.
This scene however, is looking through the fence by the road. Can you see the bluebells just within the frame at the bottom? And a horse chestnut tree dominating the scene.
The thing is that I shot this with my phone (and iPhone 8) and I think that’s a done a pretty good job.