Chris McCully


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The wild meadow and Stinky stork's-beak

Sunday, 2 April 2023 at 09:53

Dog violet I started the wild meadow as a desperate remedy last year, when the crows and jackdaws destroyed one of our lawns in search of chafer grubs. I treated the lawn with nematodes - of course I did - but eventually decided to develop the plot into a wild meadow. I scraped off the remaining surface layer of grass, explained to our neighbours that the plot was going to look like hell for a bit, did a preliminary autumn seeding and then last month, more scraping and seeding. It still looks awful...but this morning I found dog violet (pictured), bird's eye speedwell, forget-me-not, grape hyacinth, wild cyclamen and also some clumps of herb Robert. That term arrives in English (C13th) as a translation of Latin herba Roberti > German Ruprechtskraut, 'Rupert's weed'. According to Grigson, St. Rupert or Rudbert was an 8th century Austrian saint whose assistance was called in to stanch 'bleeding wounds, ulcers and erysipelas' for which Geranium robertianum was given. I asked Monika whether she knew the term 'Ruprechtskraut' and she didn't - although she did know a vernacular name for the same plant, Stinkende Storchschnabel ('Stinky stork's-beak').

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