This year there were hardly any.
Last year, the grassy bank at the side of the road juyst before you reach Asda on the outskirts of Bideford was lilac in colour because of the profusion of the flowers. This year there were none there at all.
The only place where there is more of these plants than there were last year is in our garden, and I have no idea how they got here in the first place. Last year, for the first time there was one solitary flower spike just a few yards away from my study window.
This year there are about eight.
The thing that really confuses me is that last year there was an equally spectacular glut of orange tip butterflies. This year there are hardly any - I have seen about four.
The wild flowers on the whole have not been very good this year so far, and I am wondering whether it has been because of the spectacularly mild winter that we have had. Do the plants need to have the biological trigger of frozen ground in order to do well?
But why have they done so well in our garden?
This year we had no snow or ice at all until February, and when it did come it killed most of the frogspawn. Was it also too late for the flowers? And did the mild weather fail to kill off the parasites that prey on the hibernating caterpilars and chyrysalides?
I would like to know...