(Wild)flowers in the house

(Wild)flowers in the house

May is my birthday month. I love that, as it's also such a beautiful time of the year: all those flowers and verdant greens colouring the trees and hedgerows.

Today I took a little wander - and a much-needed break from the computer - in the sunshine. I took just my door key and camera and walked maybe a hundred yards down the road, up a cobbled lane by the side of Joe's school (furtively, as it was their break time too and I didn't want him to see me and be sad he wasn't at home) and into the woods.

It's only a small patch of woodland, but shadowy and quiet enough to feel alone and distanced from the busyness of everyday pursuits.

It isn't really wild, though, being a bit too close to houses and gardens for that. So you find clumps of forget-me-nots and those sturdy, pale blue Spanish bluebells rather than the delicate purply English ones. But there are plenty of native species of flowers and trees - it's our favourite spot in autumn for post-school conker hunting.

I collected a small posy: ferns, garlic mustard, not-yet-flowering buttercups, cuckoo flowers. Even horsetails for a bit of variation of form. Then I came back home before they all wilted, as many wildflowers have a tendency to do once they're picked.

I arranged them in water using a few old jars and bottles bought at the weekend. We'd been to Hebden Bridge, and on the way home we stopped off in Todmorden. There's a great antiques place there. You can go in and have a good rummage through their wares (three storeys of them), and there were lots of lovely bits and pieces with my name on them.

We have a bit of a collection of stoneware here. I like the heaviness and the no-nonsense utilitarian style of it - jugs and pots and even what I just found out to be a foot warmer - so I had to buy a little bottle for the princely sum of 75p. The honey jar cost the same, and I picked up some old pharmacist's bottles too. Wildflowers are often suited to simple vessels: jam jars, milk bottles and so on. Speaking of which, I did see a wildflower jar in Hebden Bridge, complete with a metal mesh top for holding each stem perfectly in place.

My birthday's next week and I'd been considering a trip there alone, to wander at will for a couple of hours. Perhaps that jar will make it home with me.