I should have made a list, said Mrs Turnstone, as we came off the cliff path to stride into the village. Had she done so, the list would doubtless have been longer than I have remembered, but here are some of the flowers in bloom on 26th October, alongside a Cornish cliff path, a salt-sprayed habitat that suits relatively few plants.
- As Edward Thomas would tell you, the gorse flowers every day of the year. There were two different species of bee in attendance on it.
- The little daisy also smiles up at us whenever the ground is free of snow. Among its relatives there was camomile edging a ploughland, and assorted dandelion-like flowers whose names I do not know.
- The close cousins red campion and sea campion.
- Thrift, another low-growing rock lover, provided a springy mattress when we sat down to dine and then measured our length on the ground to watch the clouds and rest.
- Brambles had a few sweet berries, leaves turning red, and the odd cluster of pale pink flowers.
- Invaders from the south, from west and east: the equestrian’s enemy, ragwort, Michaelmas daisies and Russian Vine. That can go on spreading forever, like its relative the sorrel whose lemon flavoured leaves offered this walker a quick refreshment.
- Pennywort spires among the stones of the Cornish hedges, which are a local variant on drystone walling.
- A relative, unknown if only to us, of the bugle as well as the bugle itself.
- We only saw one violet flower, but surely we missed many more by not getting on our knees to seek out these treasures at a field’s edge.
- Old man’s beard may be a seed head, not a flower, but its exotic glory will last through most of the winter.
There was a bonus for the foragers towards the end of the walk: enough sloes to make the jelly for the Christmas goose, well worth a few scratches! The question arose then: what to do about a jar? We had none to hand in our holiday cottage.
At this point in our conversation we came across Fiona’s Mobile Café, tailor-made to her specification from an old Citroen van. Fiona admired and congratulated us on our harvest. ‘Gin?’ she asked. ‘No, Jelly for the goose’, we said, ‘but we need to find a jar.’ ‘Well, I won’t need to take this one home today’, said Fiona. Thank you Fiona, we are set up!
* And so we were. The jar was just the right size to hold the jelly when I made it the next day. Once again, thank you Fiona!
Here is a picture of Fiona’s café – http://www.flickr.com/photos/93297327@N05/9048998772/