Friday, 19 August 2011

Island living - boats, wildflowers and heading 'sooth'

For those of us fortunate enough to live on an island, I guess one thing that features heavily in life is the 'boat' or ferry I guess you'd call it. I'm off on one tonight, 'sooth' to Aberdeen (leaves late, almost at midnight) to go down overnight to the mainalnd of Scotland and retrieve continue down the rest of the 300 miles to collect the children from the airport in Edinburgh. They are returning home from their dads after a long summer away, I'm predicting was better than our own. Well, being in central France you'd certainly hope so, eh? I wonder how they'll find it being home, they might need a jumper or too!? How I've missed them both and our little adventures here.
Can't wait for one of these from both of them!
However, whilst they've been gone, here in Orkney, nothing much has changed over the summer, except maybe the flowers on the track to the house, I'd say the 'drive' but lets face it, we're not that posh, its a farm track!

Now we've been down here several times before, the last time when the track was beseiged with orchids, lots and lots of wild orchids in May......
Wild orchid
And, then in June, with free range chickens, when the glorious buttercups truly were resplendant and the chickens were too!
Creeping buttercups (Ranunculus repens) and Einstein the cockeral
I like the track doon tae the hoose, it changes relatively slowly over the seasons I've found but its a nice mix of native plants with the odd couple of planted 'garden' plants popped in along the way. Right now its dominated by meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) and the smell of the sweet flowers is heady and vivid.
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
The wild Angelica (Angelica syvestris), so architectural, it keeps its seed heads well into the winter.......
Wild Angelica (Angelica syvestris)
..... and the heather (Calluna vulgaris) is coming into bloom too.......making the hills slowly turn from brown to purple, for a few weeks, a truly breathtaking sight.
Heather (Calluna vulgaris)
Heather (Calluna vulgaris), a closer look
......with other little delights dotted in here and there down the length of the track verges in a little mosaic of colour and textures......Devils bit scabious (Succisa pratensis) which I think look like tiny blue raspberries until you get closer........
Devils bit scabious (Succisa pratensis)
 ..........which open to the most beautiful flowers captured not by me but by a keen and amazing botanical photographer on the western isles, thank you for the use of this lovely picture below, much appreciated.
Devils bit scabious (Succisa pratensis), close up.
White clover (Trifolium repens).................
White clover (Trifolium repens)
 Creeping buttercups (Ranuculus repens) have been a star through out the spring right into summer, slowly theyve lost their dominance as the summer flowers have muscled in.....
Creeping buttercups (Ranuculus repens)
 And, the meadow vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis) tumbling through the surrounding plants popping a beautiful yellow head out....
Meadow vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis)
And, the inbetween it nestles the Tufted Vetch (Vicia Cracca)
Tufted Vetch (Vicia Cracca)
Now, I've by no means taken photos of 'every' plant doon the traak, but maybe one day, for now I've a bag to pack and a boat to catch this evening.

Wonder when I'll catch sight of my first tree tomorrow? Janet at planticru is so right, you don't realise how much you miss trees until you get back on the mainland and get your first glimpse of them, can't wait, lets hope for a calm sailing, both ways!


  1. OOoh good you've helped me identify some of the plants along the "main road" on the island! The tufted vetch in particular I've been trying to name. Thanks!

  2. Beautiful photos. Scabious and Meadowsweet are 2 of my favourites on my daily walk.

    Sft x

  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE the photos, helping with my botany :D


  4. Lovely photos of local plants. Have a good ferry trip "sooth". If you need a break stop off in Montrose. Orcadian friends often stop here for breakfast!

  5. Orcadian, now there's a beautiful word with music in it!

  6. Janet, thank you, maybe another time, I'm taking the train, but I'll give you a wave!!

    E.e, it's a gorgeous accent too :)

    Vl you're welcome

    Sft they are rent they?

    Sian well we do share the same flowers, eventually, you'll be like my chums who text random flower identification things like, blue pea, verges, any idea.....? It's hysterical trying to work out what they mean :-)

  7. Beautiful, such wildflower riches. I love angelica, we have it in the field by the allotment too, wonderful plant.

  8. Lovely pictures! ad I hope the journey is uneventful (or was should I say *grin*)

  9. Truly enjoyed your wildflowers on the lane! Just beautiful! And I too went through the years where you share the children with their father-- not easy! Can be lonesome... But it's kind of important. Hope your kids are back by now and well-hugged!

  10. I am really impressed with your wild Orchids. Hope Aberdeen was having one of its milder spells when you dropped by.