Posted by: christinelaennec | July 14, 2012

Urban wildflowers

I love the exuberance of these wildflowers, growing on the edge of a garden situated above a wall about my height:

Wildflowers on top of a wall, Aberdeen, July 2012.

I wish I knew the names of all of these plants.  The orange flowers are hawkweed; I’m not sure about the yellow ones.   I’m very familiar with the one that has tiny pink flowers at the top (two seen on the left and one taller one in the middle) – but I can’t remember its name.  I also recognise the grasses.  The reason I wish I knew their names is that so often these flowers have some kind of use other than delighting me as I walk by.  For many people, these wildflowers are just weeds, but if only because the bees no doubt love them, I think they serve an important purpose.

I will admit that if they appeared in my flower beds I would pull them out in preference to my own choices, but I love that they are thriving in this small margin of earth.  Good for them!



  1. Weeds are only plants where you don’t want them. I love to see weeds, I must admit, but then I’m not a gardener. These flowers look familiar to me too but I’m not sure what they are, I’ll ask my mum and see if she knows the names. It’s lovely to have these little splashes of colour in unexpected places, it’s one of the things that makes living in a city enjoyable, I think.

  2. I’m like you, Christine. I love weeds growing in the wild (hence the name wildflowers!), but not in my garden. 🙂

  3. Here in Oxford the orange one is called ‘foxes and cubs’. I like that.

  4. the difference between a weed and a flower is opinion
    these are beautiful

  5. yes I agree, it’s inspiring how ‘nature finds a way’. It always amuses and infuriates me in equal measure how well weeds grow in the most awkward spots and meanwhile I’m tenderly nurturing plants to try and make them survive in my garden!

  6. I know the orange one as ‘devil’s paint brush’. It is an hieracium I think. I used to have one in the lawn and it managed to behave itself there mainly because I chopped its head off when mowing. Now it is in one if the borders it is an absolute thug! It seeds everywhere and has runners. I suppose that is how it got its name. It is a lovely splash of colour though. Is the pink one willow herb?

  7. I love the point of view you used for this picture. Great composition!

  8. Oh, what lovely wildflowers growing against the beautiful granite walls as a backdrop. I do love the orange ones – so bright! We have the yellow ones growing here, and in fact the fields are now full of them. They are growing in my lawn and I do believe they are called Hawkweed. I always want to let them bloom, but Hubby mows them. I suppose he is right, I am sure they would take over! But they are so bright and cheerful along the sides of the road and in the fields this time of year. xx

  9. I adore wild flowers and these are particularly pretty ones. My agrden is just so soggy this year and all that flowers looks quite sad with heavy heads 😦

  10. Dear All,

    Thanks so much for your enthusiastic interest in a photo of weeds! I love ‘foxes and cubs’ and ‘devil’s paint brush’. Karen, maybe Hawkweed is an American name? Noddingviolets, I do believe you’re right, the one with the pink flower is a willow-herb. I knew they weren’t Rosebay Willowherb, which is much bigger and stronger, but I hadn’t realised that there’s also Marsh Willowherb and Broad-leaved Willowherb as well – my familiar friends! (I occasionally get Rosebay Willowherb in the garden but out it goes. I love seeing it in the wild, though.)

    Relyn, I didn’t have much choice about the perspective, unless I’d gone up the stairs and into the person’s garden! I’m so pleased you like the photo, because you’re such a good photographer.

    • I showed this post to my mum, who is very interested in wildflowers, and she thought the yellow one was Hieracium holosericium, the pink one Epilobium montanum (broad-leaved willow herb) and she wasn’t too sure about the grass.

      • Lorna, please give Delightful Assistant No. 1 (or 2?) many thanks for her expertise. I’m so chuffed to know what those are, though I will remember “broad-leaved willow herb” more easily thatn Epilobium montanum!

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