On a very wet afternoon on 23 April I join a group of volunteers with botanical expertise on the Spring Wild Flower Count in the Wetlands. The point of the exercise is to identify all wildflowers in bloom and provide a field guide for volunteers leading tours. This exercise of noticing, recording and delighting in the natural world creates a link, in my mind, with the Medieval sensibility. The vivid natural history illustrations in Medieval manuscripts – often of common, flowering plants – is evidence that they looked minutely and with admiration at the natural world just as we are doing today. In most respects I find it impossible to imagine the Mindset of the medieval world but this simple activity of observing wild flowers (and their sustained existence here since the Middle Ages) seems like territory shared across centuries.
Fran Morely, who knows her butterflies, finds a male and female Orange Tip sheltering on Jack-by-the-Hedge. You would never find them if you didn’t know how to look.