Not feeling very adventurous of late, I decided to go for a little bimble around the garden. Rambling Ratz’s household consists of the old and decrepit, those busy caring for the old and decrepit and others not green-fingered or interested enough to maintain the garden.
No, this striking yellow flower isn’t a dandelion, but a relative – cat’s ear. Apparently it causes stringhalt in horses, a disease resulting in a loss of control of their hind legs. Nasty.
However, one man’s weed is another man’s wildflower, and a bramble patch is blackbird’s feeding station. So whilst our garden no doubt dismays our tidy neighbours, it delights the wildlife. We have an abundance of bees, butterflies, moths, general creepy crawlies, frogs, toads, bats, mice, hedgehogs and a wide variety of birds – pigeons are the only ones that sit still enough to have their portraits taken. Plenty to keep the neighbourhood cats busy. This is one of about seven that regularly prowl through our undergrowth. So this post has two cat’s ears for the price of one.
Some black fruiting bodies not to be eaten are these toxic tatsun. A relative of St John’s wort, the leaves of tatsun were used medicinally as a cure-all. The name is thought to have originally been toute saine, but the Anglo Saxons have deliberately misspelled it to annoy their feudal Norman lords – quite right too. Just re-reading this bit; “The Leaves of Tatsun” sounds like a good title for an episode of Doctor Who (but only if Tom Baker reprises the role).