More flowing water in the park – and an unexpected flower seen!

Some more, apparently unassuming, rainfall during the night transformed Perivale Park into an aquatic playground again. Here are some videos of the gushing waters.

Meanwhile, in a secluded corner of the park, one I have walked past many a time, spring has arrived. A lovely bank of violets (scented we think) which should improve in appearance in the next few weeks. They must have been there for years and we never noticed. Next to them, bluebells and other bulbs are emerging as well, so a little corner to watch.

4 Replies to “More flowing water in the park – and an unexpected flower seen!”

  1. Indeed so; twice in the last 3 months or so! I hope the planners of the proposed large housing development which is right next to the engorged river Brent at Gurnell leisure centre have taken good cognisance of these temporary lakes!

    One advantage of the floods is that the infamous fallen tree which acts as a trap for the larger garbage coming down the Brent (and which the Greenwayers have attacked on a number of occasions) has been purged by the flood waters. The rubbish no doubt ended up at Osterley Park Weir, which often has an impressive collection. Or in the Thames at Brentford.

  2. The awesome power of Mother Nature there Henry.

    I can confirm the violets are Sweet Violets, Viola odorata. These are usually the first species of violet to flower & often seen naturalised. I’ve seen them carpeting lawns in gardens, quite often including white variants as well as the typical violet colour. One interesting fact is the scent is that of a ketone called ionone which allows you to smell it for a few seconds before numbing the sense as the receptors are shut down.

  3. Neil mentions a chemical called ionone which is responsible for the smell of these flowers. As it happens this is the molecule that in effect founded the modern scent industry. In the 19th century, it could only be obtained by processing the natural flowers and was accordingly very expensive. The same was true for many colour dyes, which were also extracted from natural species. Indeed perhaps, weight for weight, the most precious substance in the classical world was the dye Tyrian Purple, far far more so than gold. In the late 1890s, chemists discovered how to make (they call it synthesize) ionone, actually quite easily, from simple and cheap chemicals. Its priced plummeted, although arguably the prestige that (expensive) ionone had already imparted to perfumes continued and these often remained expensive (and exclusive) despite the now very cheap ingredients!

    The ionones are in fact a range of closely related chemicals, often differing only in the presence and position of a group known as “methyl”, which if you like fine-tunes the perceived scent. Curiously, this is how many plants also tune colour and which is why you not only get many slight variations in colour in different flowers but also in their scents.

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