Sometimes I feel sadness when I look back and recall the hedgerows filled with flowers, the vast areas of wild untilled land I once knew. Cowslips take me back to a childhood in the late forties when I used to rise early and go forth with the farmer’s wife and her daughter into a Gloucestershire field that was covered in cowslips from end to end. We could pick them in those days, they weren’t as yet almost eradicated by intensive and careless, greedy farming.
Wordsworth as always, sums it up in his beautiful way…
There was a time when meadow, grove and stream
The earth and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore.
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen, I now can see no more.
from 'Intimations of Immortality'
In fairness, farmers now are far more aware of the environment and due to the madness of EU laws, many fields forced to lie fallow, have been turned by sensible landowners into wild flower fields again. Flowers are raised and sold for gardens and estates and we can rejoice once more in swathes of primroses, bluebells, snowdrops.
Poppy fields, Gloucestershire