Friday, June 18, 2010

Postcard from the poppy field

There are very few sights which make me genuinely gasp with astonishment, but this was one of them.  When driving through Worcestershire you pass plenty of perfectly lovely views - as green and pleasant as you could wish for.  But red is not a common colour in the English countryside, and it's the first time I've seen an entire field washed red as if by an Impressionist's watercolours.

I had a tip off it was there and managed to visit while the poppies were at their peak, on a quiet day and in glorious sunshine.  A warm breeze made the glossy, tissue paper-thin, pleated petals bend and flip so they seemed alive.  Bees were trying to find a foothold on the moving flowers to pick up some of the dusty, dark pollen.  The uniformity of colour made the whole thing more astounding.

The field is on a farm recently acquired by the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust who had ploughed the sandy soil, then left it fallow.  Which was obviously the cue for the dormant poppy seeds to burst into life.  They'd normally be considered a weed on arable land.  Here though, they're magnificent and are providing a home for nesting skylarks.  The birds were quiet, but the Severn Valley Railway passes nearby and provided a steam-driven soundtrack of hoots and chugging.

There were plenty of photographers hunched over tripods beetling about the place, but of course poppies aren't just picturesque.  I didn't have a Wizard of Oz moment and fall asleep in the field; but I do wonder what will happen when all that remains is the seedheads.  In Tasmania recently (the world's biggest legal grower of opiates - who knew?), there were reports of wallabies breaking into the fields to gorge on seeds, get high and dash about destroying the place.  I can only hope the skylarks behave better.

11 comments:

postcardsfromk said...

Updated for the benefit of the English teacher who would not allow me to end a sentence with a preposition!
K x

Lexi said...

Wow.

Just...wow.

postcardsfromk said...

Quite. Not sure why I bothered to waffle on for four paragraphs.
K

Timberati said...

Great picture. WOW.

These poppies are not the same as opium poppies. We have the type in your picture (only bright orange)here in California. And if there were any chance of getting stoned on them two things would happen: stoners would be harvesting the plants and police would be eradicating the plants. Fortunately, neither has happened.

postcardsfromk said...

No, I had noticed there was no need for a police cordon in Worcestershire. I saw some lovely lilac poppies in a garden on Sunday. The biggest shame is what a short time they last for.

K

altguy3 said...

Hey

It's that fantastic photo again!

Everyone seems to be redesigning their pages at the moment - but I don't like these new layouts as much as the old ones... or does that just prove I'm getting old?

I see lilac and a bit of stamp on the left side. Does that help?

G

postcardsfromk said...

I'm really pleased with how that photo turned out. When standing in the glare of the sun and trying to view it on the camera's screen, I couldn't tell if it had worked. Fortunately, I think it did!

As for the design - I thought the blog needed freshening up, but it seems that no-one is seeing what I'm seeing at this end. I've adjusted some widths now. Is it obvious to anyone else that the background is some French stamps on a postcard?

As for whether you are getting old, Guy, all I can tell you is that you are one of my youngest readers.

K

altguy3 said...

I now see stamps!

postcardsfromk said...

Oh good, I shouldn't have messed with the template. Now if only I could get the google analytics working again...
K

Timberati said...

I saw the stamps, but being one of your older readers, I thought perhaps I'd not seen them all along.

postcardsfromk said...

You may be older, Norm, but you clearly have good screen resolution. I stuck the stamps on last week so commend yourself on your observation skills too.
K