over wallop

Clematis vitalba - old man’s beard

I visited my brother in Hampshire at the weekend and as we passed from the clay soils of the Midlands onto the chalk of the Wessex Downs, the hedges were covered with the fluffy seed heads of old man’s beard, glowing white in the low winter sunshine. Old man’s beard is the only native British clematis and grows profusely in hedgerows, often covering entire trees or tumbling over the thatched roofs of cottages. The seed heads are wind borne and spread like wild fire so my brother will have to be careful of these growing in the field opposite his house if he doesn’t want his garden smothered.