Moor Row

Week In Focus #41

This is #41 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This week’s photo is of a floral display in the village that I live, in West Cumbria.

Moor Row is a residential community situated between Whitehaven and Egremont on Cumbria’s coastal plain. The history of Moor Row goes back to at least 1762, but it was the 19th century discovery of iron ore in the vicinity that built the ‘row of houses on a moor’. Cornish tin miners moved here to work the mines, and their presence is noted in a number of street names such as Penzance Street. One street, Dalzell, is named after Thomas Henry Dalzell, a mine owner.

Moor Row’s Montreal Mines produced 250,000 tons a year, the largest of any mine in the Whitehaven or Furness district. The mine property covered 1,000 acres (4.0 km2), half of which was ore bearing. Both open pit and shaft mining took place. Between 1000 and 1200 people were employed locally in the industry.

In 2014, the village was rated sixth in a list of the best places to bring up children. Places were rated for schools, crime, amenities and affordable homes in a list which looked at family-friendly hotspots.

  • The report analysed all 2,400 postcodes in England and Wales using 71 different factors to determine the best locations for families. Scotland and Northern Ireland aren’t included in the study as they do not collect or report data in the same way.
Moor Row
Moor Row

300,000 Poppy Seeds Sown

Today, I did something that I’ve thought about doing for quite some time. I hope my undertaking comes to fruition next year and that I haven’t wasted a few hours trying to spread some cheer.

On almost every street corner, wherever you are located, there is a piece of barren land calling out for intervention. I’ve attempted to answer that calling with flower bombing of the wastelands.

Hopefully in 2020, there will be 300,000 bright red Poppies springing forth in the West Cumbria village of Moor Row with enough vigour to bring about a smile to the discerning.

Poppies are wildlife-friendly plants, having abundant, accessible pollen for bees, hoverflies, and other pollen dependant insects, so hopefully these flamboyant beauties will also attract wildlife to the area.

  • The variety of a poppy I’ve sown were Papaver Rhoeas – The Common Poppy. They grow up to 28″ high and produce large showy flowers. Hopefully.

300,000 Poppy Seeds

300,000 Poppy Seeds

Wave Petunias

Pretty Petunias

I’m amazed. A few weeks ago, I shared a photo with you of some Wave Petunias that I had planted. I’m not a flowery person, and haven’t got a clue about growing plants. Despite the odds of success being low, and the chances of me killing the Petunias being extremely high, I’ve somehow managed to grow something that actually looks OK! 😊

Now that I’ve got them flourishing, I guess I’ll have to sit with fingers crossed, and wait for them to begin to flow over the edge of the two fence troughs that they’re pullulating in. Knowing my luck, some little runt will come along and pull them all out. Lol.

I’ve probably planted the flowers too late in the year to have a fantastic display, but at least I have a little colour, and am more aware of what I’m doing for next time around. I’m already thinking of buying a propagator. I might be hooked. Hmm.. what should I do for winter? Lol.

Wave Petunias
Wave Petunias
Rosebay Willowherb

Rosebay Willowherb

Rosebay Willowherb, or Fireweed, is abundant on local verges at this time of the year. I love the stuff. The vibrant colours from this wild flower brighten all parts of West Cumbria.

The tall flower spikes can often be seen crowding together in thick stands in open spaces, such as woodland clearings, roadside verges, grassland and waste ground. It is a native perennial weed which spreads by seed and rhizomes (underground stems) and is unsuitable in a small garden.

The flower grows to a height of 1.5m (5ft), from June to September. When ripe the long seed capsules split open to reveal numerous fluffy seeds. It is able to colonise new areas because of its specially adapted seeds – fitted with tiny, cottony ‘parachutes’ they are able to disperse across long distances on the slightest breeze. Each plant can produce up to 80,000 seeds and the heat from fires and bonfires can help to germinate them, hence another common name of ‘Fireweed’.

In Britain the plant was considered a rare species in the 18th century, and one confined to a few locations with damp, gravelly soils. The plant’s rise from local rarity to widespread abundance seems to have occurred at the same time as the expansion of the railway network and the associated soil disturbance. The plant also became known as bombweed due to its rapid colonization of bomb craters in the second world war.

Willowherb
Rosebay Willowherb

Brown Thumbed

The opposite of green fingered, is brown thumbed. Where plants are concerned, I haven’t had much luck at all. Whatever I plant has a tendency to die. Maybe I should water them. Perhaps artificial would be better?

Seriously though, I have never been very interested in flowers. Hell – I live in a home without a garden. I didn’t want the hassle of weeding, digging, and whatever else goes into making green things grow.

But. In recent weeks, I’ve been thinking of what I can do to brighten up the front of my house. My first investment was a large pot. That has now got two lovely flowery things growing in it. My neighbour says that they will get too big – she’s probably right. How was I to know that Hydrangeas can grow to a substantial size? lol

The past week, I’ve been tending to some Trailing Wave Petunias that I’m planning on adding to a couple of troughs that I’ll attach to my fence. The flowers haven’t died yet, so I must be doing something right.

Petunias – Do I space them close together, or wide apart? They’re dainty little things at the moment – I’m worried I’m being lulled into a false sense of security. I don’t want to be caught out by what might be aggressive growers. Help! What do I do? 😂

Trailing Wave Petunias
Trailing Wave Petunias
Red Campion

Week In Focus #32

This is picture #32 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This week’s photo is of the Red Campion flower. This flower fills the countryside with a splash of welcome colour in spring and summer.

Red Campion is a biennial or perennial plant, with dark pink to red flowers, each 1.8-2.5 cm across. There are five petals which are deeply notched at the end, narrowed at the base and all go into an urn-shaped calyx. The flowers are unscented. The flowering period is from May to October.

Besides the aesthetic value of its flowers, the crushed seeds of red campion have also been used to treat snake bites!

Red Campion
Red Campion
Oxeye Daisy

Week In Focus #31

This is picture #31 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This week’s photo is of the lovely Oxeye Daisy. This flower is in bloom around the solstice. The large daisy is a sure sign that summer has arrived.

The plant bears up to three large “flowers” like those of a typical daisy. Below the head is an involucre of glabrous green bracts with brownish edges. Flowering mostly occurs from late spring to early summer.

The Oxeye daisy is native to Europe, and to Turkey and Georgia in Western Asia. It is a typical grassland perennial wildflower, growing in a variety of plant communities including meadows and fields, under scrub and open-canopy forests, and in disturbed areas. The species is widely naturalised in many parts of the world and is considered to be an invasive species in more than forty countries. It grows in temperate regions where average annual rainfall exceeds 750 mm (30 in), and often where soils are heavy and damp.

Oxeye Daisy
Oxeye Daisy
Cotton Grass

Cotton Grass

At the moment, Common Cotton Grass is sprouting all over the Cumbria landscape. It’s as if someone has thrown a huge bag of cotton wool over the fields and mountains. While blowing in the breeze, the movement of these fluffy tufts appear to bring the land to life. Technically, it’s not a grass at all.

  • Cottongrass was once used as a feather substitute in pillow stuffing some parts of the United Kingdom.
  • Paper and the wicks of candles have been made of its fiber.
  • The leaves were formerly used in the treatment of diarrhea, and the spongy pith of the stem for the removal of tapeworm.
  • During World War I, it was used to dress wounds.

Cotton Grass is a hardy, herbaceous, rhizomatous, perennial plant, meaning that it is resilient to cold and freezing climatic conditions, dies back at the end of its growing season, has creeping root stalks, and lives for over two years. It grows vigorously from seed over a period of 2–5 years, and thrives particularly well in freshly disturbed, cut or eroded peat.

The plant was named Eriophorum angustifolium in 1782 by the German botanist Gerhard August Honckeny. In English, E. angustifolium is known by a variety of common names (with various spellings), including common cottongrass,common cotton-grass, common cottonsedge, tassel cotton grass, many-headed cotton-grass, thin-scale cotton-grass, tall cotton-grass, downy ling and bog cotton.

Cotton Grass
Cotton Grass
Bluebell Flowers

Week In Focus #29

This is picture #29 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This week’s photo was captured while on yesterdays walk to Blake Fell, and is of the Bluebell flower. It is found in Atlantic areas from north-western Spain to the British Isles, and also frequently used as a garden plant.

Despite the wide distribution of Bluebells, it reaches its greatest densities in the British Isles, where “bluebell woods” are a familiar sight at this time of the year. It is estimated that over 50% of the worlds population of Bluebell can be found in Great Britain. In the UK, it is a protected plant.

Bluebell Flowers
Bluebell Flowers