Crossing Paths

One of the many things I love about blogging is the way you can cross paths with other bloggers in another state or another country without even meaning to.

This summer, I became intrigued by the flora of the UK. As my springtime forays indicate, I am reasonably familiar with the plants that grow here in the Sonoran Desert, but most of the plants I saw in gardens and fields in the UK were total strangers.

I like to know things, just for the sake of knowing, so not knowing the names of the plants all around was driving me nuts. This was especially the case with those tall, spiky plants with the purply-pink flowers. We saw them all over–on the embankments on the side of the road, in the waste beside the train tracks, and cutting purple swaths through fields around Dalkeith.

My first thought was that they were thistle (perhaps the one UK flower I can identify), but getting a good look at some real thistles (picture taken at Dalkeith Park) proved they were not. I had resigned myself to shelving them at the back of my mind with the UK hills, monuments, and villages I had seen but whose names I would never know.

Then I read Kate Davies’ post about the Braids.

There the flowers were! And Kate knew their name: rosebay willowherb! (Her pictures are much nicer, too)

So utterly random, so utterly unessential, finding that name totally made my day. Now I know. I can go back to all my pictures of those swaths of purple and add the tag: rosebay willowherb.

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