Country diary 1921: hardy coltsfoot adorns barren waste grounds

In spring, and more noticeably in that part of winter which is really spring, when days are lengthening and buds forming, every common, insignificant flower has its value. The primrose in the garden, though a true flower of spring, has less value in the eyes of the outdoor naturalist than the brave and hardy coltsfoot, which is now announced. The first news of this so far leafless plant in flower seldom if ever comes from what we term real country, but from the outskirts, often uninviting, of busy manufacturing areas. Frequently I see my first coltsfoot on some Northwich spoil bank, or in a railway cutting outside some station, even amidst the cinders at Cornbrook. This year my earliest information comes from Padgate, where it was noted on the 6th.

The plucky and successful attempt to adorn waste and unpromising spots, where even the soot-soiled grass is thin and course, can hardly fail to appeal to those who look out for these signs of nature’s renewing, and yet how many daily pass these yellow stars without a thought. They have eyes and see not. But there is another side, a very hopeful one. The press reflects the interests of the day, and the that there is a large section of the community who take interest in the simple announcement that some humble flower has appeared or some common bird begun its spring song is proof that eyes and and ears are really used. Many have found that the changing face of nature gives a soothing, mental rest when we are wearied by the perplexing whirl of commerce and politics.