“For about a week in June, my world is filled with wonderful seas of purple.” – Ed Lehming
Dames Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) has always been a late spring favourite of mine, even before I knew what it was called. I fondly recall drives into the country with my parents and seeing fields of purple, pink, and white along the roadside.
“Rockets” form dense patches in fields and meadows for about a week in early June. They seem to appear out of nowhere and then they are gone. It may be that fleeting nature that makes them so appealing, especially at a time where there are not a lot of wildflowers blooming yet. It’s even nicer when the occasional daisy blends in. They have a beautiful fragrance which is more pronounced in early evening leading it to also be known as night-scented gilliflower.
I like them so much that for a few years I tried to get them established in my garden. That exercise finally worked out, but they cannot be contained and seed out wherever they want. So a nicely placed patch will soon move to a different part of the garden the next season. They are also not particularly attractive plants when not blooming, so I have since removed them and simply enjoy them in the fields where I first found them.
Like so many of the wonderful wildflowers we have, it was imported from Europe and Asia in the 17th century as a decorative plant and then escaped. In many locations it’s considered an ‘invasive species’ and cultivation is discouraged. Despite that moniker, I like like it and would hate to see it dissappear.
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/100 sec, f/10.0, ISO 800