Along our lane, as is often the case, the loud chatter of school children was cheerful and somehow full of hope. Adult leaders and back-markers, as it should be, nattered away as the group hastened on through the woods leaving behind a silence filled suddenly by the return of birds and squirrels and I knew, in an hour or so, they, the youngsters and teachers, would suddenly return to fill the air with a joyfulness that can actually be felt, and then returns the sound of silence, followed by bird song and the patter of squirrels’ feet upon bare winter branches.
“Shock-headed Dandelion that drank the fire of the sun: Hawkweed and Marigold, Cornflower and Campion” wrote Robert Bridges years ago. Then there is another: “Daisies winter white peep from frosted grass, where a lone primrose tests the air then tells its friends to wait awhile. The pathway slippery, almost as glass, as a jay hunts for hidden nuts buried yet remembered by the stile.”
I love to see daisies in our lawns and of course growing Michaelmas Daisies with their lovely purple rays is a joy both for us and for insects.
About half a mile from our home, on and along a high grassy bank by the river, grows the large Ox-eye or Moon daisy, Chrysanthemum leucanthemum, a beautiful sight when in full bloom. Out on the salt marshes we will also find sea aster, another Compositae species whose daisy-like flowers sometimes lack their purple ray florets and look more like rather feeble dandelions.