Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Wild Flowers in Church

This floral arrangement was spotted in the church in Azay le Rideau back in June. The choice of flowers and vegetation interested me. The flowers are all tall spikes -- acanthus, delphinium and lizard orchids. The greenery is male fern, bay laurel and variegated ivy.

The lizard orchids must have been picked from the wild, and possibly the fern too. I'm not sure how I feel about this. Quite likely they were growing in the flower arranger's garden as wild volunteers. My instinct is to discourage the picking of wild flowers but many French people see nothing wrong with it. I am intrigued that lizard orchids have been chosen for the church, as many French people do not like them and their stinky perfume.

Both the lizard orchids and the male fern are reasonably abundant in this area. What worries me about picking them is the example it sets. Many people can't tell a rare plant from a common one and have no idea that the rule of thumb for wild picking is to only take 10% of what you see, if you must pick. Far too often I have encountered patches of flowers that have been stripped of every single flower stalk, probably by a single unthinking picker who wants them for the table and doesn't realise that half of them will wilt instantly in water and that other people might appreciate seeing the flowers in the wild. Once picked they have no chance to set seed and reproduce.


  1. Worse than all the flowers being picked is the sight of a "dribble" of dropped flowers leading away from the original source....
    really disheartening...
    picked, looked at for a few minutes...
    but never reached the transport... let alone a vase.
    Seen it too many times... too many!!

  2. People out walking in our area used to pick wild flowers - not just one or two, but large bunches - only to drop them when returning to their car.

    Mark you, they also used to pick flowers I had planted on road side of our wall....public property, they used to say...

    1. My guess is the flowers get dumped because by the time they've returned to the car they've wilted.

      Funny how the tree branch overhanging the footpath isn't public property/responsibility though isn't it? This sort of plant is the responsibility of the property owner where the trunk is. Clearly not all plantlife is equal. Only the pretty flowers are public property.