What's going on Our blog Wild flower news - 6th July There's probably lots of flowers that you see out an about in summer and can't quite put a name to - here are a few of them: Cinnabar caterpillars on ragwort and the cinnabar moth itself Ragwort is a bit contentious as it’s poisonous to horses, cows and sheep but great for pollinators - the cinnabar moth in particular. They lay their eggs on the lower leaves and the caterpillars emerge anytime from now through to August, eating their way up the plant. They store the ragwort’s ‘poison’ in their bodies making them very unpalatable to birds - hence the warning stripes on the caterpillars and the red and black wings. Meadow cranesbill is part of the geranium family and as they're perennial, they flower right through from june to august - perfect for bees and other pollinators. Interestingly, they also really like the shade. Meadow cranesbill and ragwort You'll see creeping cinquefoil spreading across grasslands and waste ground - if you're a gardener you may not be fond of it, as it can easily colonise up to 10 square metres in a single season, ruining beds and borders in the process. In the Millennium Country Park, however, you'll notice it's pretty, yellow flowers on drier patches of ground. Lady's bedstraw carpets huge areas of grassland and spreads a sweet scent in the summer months. It earned it's name as it was used to stuff mattresses (particularly of pregnant women), thankfully a very long time ago. It's also an old fashioned vegetarian alternative for rennet in cheese-making, as it's leaves/stems contain the enzyme that's used to curdle milk. We've looked at hedge bindweed recently but this one is field bindweed - another one with an extensive root system that can survive in very dry conditions. It has either pink or white flowers and often isn't good news for crops, as it pulls them down by binding them - getting in the way of a good harvest. Creeping cinquefoil, lady's bedstraw and field bindweed (Oddly no relation to purple loosestrife) yellow loosestrife can spread like mad (note the photo of on of our team member's garden below). It gets it's interesting name (Lysimachia) from the Macedonian general Lysimachus who 'fed the plants to his oxen to calm them down' aka lose their strife. It's allegedly useful to keep flies away but can cause allergic reactions in humans, so be careful! Sign up for the latest news Make sure you sign up to our newsletter to hear about what we're spotting on our sites and get some hand picked inspiration for things to do during lockdown, and keep letting us know what you've seen (click here to show us) either on our sites on your daily walk, or in your gardens!