Contributor: Judy Dunford
Towards the end of May, the first of the early summer flowers start to appear. The white of Cow parsley and the mauve of Wood cranesbill make splashes of colour in the verges. If you stop to look many other smaller flowers can also be found amongst the grasses. The colours vary with blue of the speedwells, yellow of Tormentil and many others and pale pink of Ladies smock. The purple heads of Melancholy thistle make a dramatic sight when you find a big area of them. Most of the flowers found in June are those which were found in the hay meadows of the past. To survive these plants need a low level of nitrogen in the soil. If the nutrition level gets to high they die out. In the areas of the country where mainly arable crops are grown, the high nutrition leaching from the fields combined with heavy use of herbicides and pesticides has caused many of the wild flowers to die out. Around Orton, with no arable farming, this is not a problem and the flowers survive to show us sights which were enjoyed by many previous generations.