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Beauty in the "Ordinary"

A photography cycle-ride yesterday along the amazing Edinburgh cycle-path network was intended for travelling far and wide, capturing a variety of “spring-bursting-into-life” pictures. I was absolutely intent on avoiding my usual trap of ending up in one place for three-hours flat. Yet ten minutes of cycling later, a beautiful whiff of onions tantalising my nose and a stop to investigate what on first appearance was a spread of generic – albeit eye-satisfyingly lush – green leaves, turned into… a three hour visit! And how happy I am it did, because it is a stark reminder to myself that regardless of first impressions, there is always something amazing to be found beyond the seemingly ordinary.

This is where I spent those three hours:

More specifically, this tiny patch here:

Stooping low, I wasn’t totally sure what I was looking at. I knew it wasn’t ramsons (wild garlic) as the leaves were too narrow and the smell not quite garlicy enough, and the flowers didn’t seem quite right for three-cornered leek. Shrugging it off for the time-being, I resumed my focus on inhaling the delicious smell, before deciding that while I was stopped I may as well get a couple of shots…

But the more I looked, the more I found. The beauty in spying little hidden flowers amongst the vast greenery first captured my attention:

Then I noticed the way young flowers developed in delicate transparent buds:

And how they tenderly broke free from their encasings, reaching out to the world around them with an individual fully-developed flower and additional underdeveloped-looking-bud-type-things(!):

The beauty of spending so much time in one place is that nature gradually reveals her tender secrets. And the more moments taken to pause and become absorbed in our surroundings, the more there is to see, smell, hear… enjoy. My highlight was watching a queen common wasp as she emerged and sunbathed for a while before taking flight:

On returning back to the flat, and using my plant bible (The Wild Flower Key – Francis Rose), I discovered this species is few-flowered leek (or garlic). Imaginatively named! The additional “underdeveloped-looking-bud-type-things” are bubils, which can fall off the plant and grow new plants. Typically, as is often the case for things appearing in such abundance, it is an introduced species and can out-compete native woodland floor-dwelling plants. That aside I had a lovely afternoon… and there are a lot of hungry mouths to feed in Edinburgh – potential solution?!

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