Friday, February 14, 2014

Definitely miscellanous

This blog is not called a Magpie's Miscellany for nothing, my mind picks up and writes about anything that crosses it;) So where has this blank mind gone today? Firstly whilst looking through the news, a new exhibition at The Natural History Museum is opening, and this video of the models of Homo Sapien and Neanderthal man being made flashed through.  Which in turn reminded me of the two reproduced bisons at the entrance to the Ice Age Exhibition we saw last year.  And so I decided to look them up, not helped by the fact that I actually thought they were boars, but luckily I found the original.  Fourteen thousand years old they were found in the back of  the Tuc D'audobert Cave, an altar to fertility maybe, see how the clay on which they were carved also represents in its natural form a third bison at the back.  This is obviously a reproduction, but I can remember the flash of incredulity as I looked down on these beasts, so lifelike in their carving.

The bison of Tuc D'audobert Cave

The other thing of note that happened yesterday was (we don't get out often) the visit to a nursery centre.  We had gone to get some coal, after these storms apparently winter looms in the form of snow in March,  but summer is to bring some hot dry weather, so not all is lost...  The coal was expensive but of course a browse round the plants section was needed and I bought a pulmonaria plant.  For the bees I explained to my love.  Coming back in the car and I could not remember the name of the bees, they are singleton nesting bees and hover in front of the flower with long proboscis like humming birds.  Of course they are called 'pulmonaria bees' a bell eventually struck, and how long it is for those bells to strike lately! but perhaps my head is to full of unimportant stuff anyway..

Once upon a time I had a garden full of the plants, used as weed check they are invaluable forcovering bare earth. Anyway nondescript is perhaps the only way to describe it, but a good early flower for bees and the pollinating of fruit trees.  Apparently according to Grigson, there is a local variation in the New Forest Pulmonaria Longifolia found by John Goodyer in the 17th century.  But the official wild lungwort Pulmonaira officinalis is called Jerusalem Cowslip, Spotted Comfrey, Sage of Jerusalem, both by the way go under the common name of Adam and Eve because of the blue and white nature of the flower. And to quote Grigson....

Often naturalized, making a pond of azure in the woods. (it likes shade)  Since the leaves have white spots, sympathetic magic made it into a medicine 'against the infirmities and ulcers of the lunge'.  Gerard also wrote that the leaves were 'used amongst pot herbes'.
I shall have to consult my herb book on that one and also Robinson, but I can hardly think the leaves are a great delicacy, being slightly hairy, and indeed their spottiness would put anyone off.


  1. Lovely post Thelma, ending with one of my favourite plants. I didn't know all those names so thank you. I have some really nice varieties here other than the classic one. No sign of them yet though. Sigh.

  2. Glad you are back on line Em, nice to have a collection of them, they are very pretty.