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Discover the Wildflowers of May

Discover the Wildflowers of May

As the UK countryside bursts into a vibrant tapestry of colour in May, there's no better time to explore the array of wildflowers that dot the landscape. From the stunning sweeps of bluebells in ancient woodlands to the quaint beauty of lady’s smock in moist meadows, each flower not only adds to the visual spectacle but plays a crucial role in supporting local ecosystems.

In May, the UK countryside bursts into vibrant colour as many wildflowers begin to bloom, making my dog walk much more exciting and adventure filled. Here are some of the wildflowers you can look out for during May in the UK:

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) - One of the UK’s most iconic wildflowers, bluebells carpet woodlands in a stunning display of blue from late April to May. These are particularly prevalent in woodlands. Check out the National Trust page for the best places to see them.
Cowslip (Primula veris) - Recognisable by their drooping, yellow flowers clustered on tall, green stems, cowslips are often found in meadows, grasslands and parklands. Learn more here from The Wildlife Trust.
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) - One of my favourites. My parents always had these in their rockeries when I was a kid. They are still magical to me today. Towering spires of pink and purple bell-shaped flowers make foxgloves easy to spot in woods, heaths and on moorlands. Don't be tempted to pick them if you see them in woods! 
Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum) - Known for their distinctive aroma, wild garlic can be found in damp woodlands, carpeting the floor with their white, starry flowers. The driveway up to our holiday stay in Wales was lined with wild garlic. Looks amazing and even smells it, if you aren't offended by the smell of garlic. I have heard it makes an amazing pesto and this is on my to do list. Here is a recipe from BBC Good Food.
Red Campion (Silene dioica) - Brightening up hedgerows, woodlands and roadsides, red campion displays vivid pink to red flowers.
Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) - Large, daisy-like flowers with white petals and yellow centres, oxeye daisies are often seen in grassy fields and along roadways. They are great for drying.
Common Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) - While technically a shrub, the hawthorn's blossoming with white or pink flowers is a hallmark of May, lining hedgerows and forming part of the hedgerow blossom. We have lots of this in our garden, the bees love it and it packs a cloud-like punch if left wild.
Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor) - Named for the rattling seeds in their pods, these flowers are important for wildflower meadow management and can often be seen in grassy meadows. We have attempted to grow these in our garden, so we could create a wildflower meadow. No success as yet!
Lady’s Smock (Cardamine pratensis) - Also known as cuckoo flower, these delicate pale pink flowers can be found in moist meadows and riverbanks. These are so delicate and pretty and I am lucky enough to have a couple appear in my garden this year.
Early Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula) - One of the first orchids to appear in spring, it is notable for its spikes of purple flowers and can be found in ancient woodlands and grasslands.
May is a fantastic month to get outside and enjoy the beauty and diversity of British wildflowers, whether in local woods, across meadows or along country lanes. These flowers not only provide spectacular visuals but are also crucial for supporting local wildlife, including bees, butterflies, and birds. Many of them are protected so by observing flowers in their natural habitats and resisting the urge to pick them, you help ensure that these beautiful species continue to thrive and can be enjoyed by future generations. Instead, consider photographing them. Do share your pics with me on instagram. Tag me @theletterloft.

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