3 Jun 2011

May in Bloom

Welcome to La Baguette's latest feature: 'A Month in Bloom', which debuted in our February edition. At the end of each month, this blog will showcase a gallery of floral blossoms of the wild order encountered during that month on random walks around my current base in Northern Corsica.

Lady pleaser: Dogrose
Things have been hotting up here in May, and are set to get even hotter in June and beyond! The heat of May is a prelude to a hot Summer, forecast to be hotter than last year's! So far and unlike other areas of France (the Charentes for instance), Corsica has been spared by drought. Oddly enough, while Northern Europe enjoyed four weeks of fabulous Summertime weather back in April, Corsica suffered a damp and rainy early Spring.

The maquis has been turning more aromatic with each passing day, with a palette of inspirational greens evidencing new growth and tender leaves contrasting with the darker greens from the evergreens. For the vast majority of the maquis is evergreen by nature and therefore retains its vibrancy of green throughout the Winter months, a welcome difference from the non-mediterranean regions where trees are totally depleted of their leaves in the cold season.

Yours grass-fully: Briza maxima
May saw grasses come into their own (some of them thriving over 5ft7 tall), while the likes of Asphodels, Angelica and Sinapsis arvensis (mustard plant) matured and started to seed. In the wow department, Cistus held to their blooms throughout most of May. Meanwhile other little marvels of nature were equally worth it, namely Ornithogalum (commonly found by the roadside), the Vicia sepium (a fuchsia pink sweetpea lookalike found tangled in hedges along pastures). Other wildflowers include (but are not restricted to) Hypericum perforatum, Medicago sativa, and (more rarely-observed) Campanula.

Since mid-month the ubiquitous Scabiosa (Knautia) has been making an appearance in pastures: it is easily identifiable by its elongated thin stemmed structure finished off by a single inflorescence of a delicate pink in colour and frou-frou in style. Scabiosa will be observed for the next couple of months and is a precursor sign of Summer.

Pretty in pink: Vicia sepium
The more prosaic Bramble is in bloom too. Botany is here to remind us that all plants deserve a mention, from the cute wildflowers to the gardener's sworn enemies... Meanwhile stay tuned, we'll be back soon to report on June's botanical prowess!

Wild at heart: Allium
Dancing the twist: Lonicera
Insect-friendly: Smooth Golden Fleece (Urospermum dalechampii)
Looks like Heaven: Cistus


  1. Beautiful shots of summer flowers. Particularly loved how you captured the bee in the arnica flower.

  2. Thanks Jane for your kind comment! It's always an added bonus if an insect takes part in the photoshoot, and thankfully in this region of the world we are blessed in that respect. At this time of year, the place is literally buzzing with life!

  3. ERRATUM ** At the time of writing the May in Bloom article, I wrongly identified the last but one image as Arnica, when it is in fact Urospermum Dalechampii (a member of the asteraceae family, commonly known as smooth golden fleece/ Mediterranean daisy). Sincere apologies.