We walk up Plague Pits Valley, flanked by the carpets of Devil's-bit Scabious
. 'The reconnection of the Itchen to the city and the down has to be a good thing,' says Chatters.
Off to the garden centre I went and made a choice of species, including calendula, antirrhinum, poppies, cornflowers, poached egg plant (limnanthes), cosmos, nasturtium, scabious
, comfrey and flowering meadow grasses.
Now terraced borders are ablaze with rudbeckia, scabious
, phlox and delphiniums; beds of floribunda roses perfume the air, and a sunken garden crammed with colourful lupins and geraniums gives an Italian flavour.
Butterfly Blue Beauty is another one for the bees and as the name would suggest, also the butterflies.
In late summer and autumn, some species need to build up their reserves in preparation for winter, so benefit from late-summer bloomers including buddleia, sedum, ivy, Michaelmas daisy, mint, scabious
The novel begins with Ellie awaiting her wedding with Granville, which is disturbed by Constable de Scabious
and his followers.
And freckles of tiny scabious
and wild cyclamen decorating, petit point, the hedgerows and cool, shady woods where blackberries wait for the plucking." The forced language doesn't seem natural to either narrator: the unemployed and abandoned wife of "Love's Ligature" or the anorexic/bulimic girl of "Patchwork."
But from the air, its traces will surely be seen for ages, and wandering through the meadow that is to replace it, people will be surprised to find corn cockle, vetch, devil's bit scabious
, selfheal, agrimony, yarrow, ox-eye daisy and quaking grass: the plants of old England, all strangely gathered within the walls.
"The knock-on effects of habitats overly enriched with nitrogen are chilling - marsh fritillary butterflies feed almost exclusively on Devil's-bit scabious
, a plant that cannot survive in nitrogen-rich soil."
Turn part of your lawn into a meadow by planting spring bulbs and cowslips and summer-flowering knapweed, poppies, cornflowers, field scabious
Bees Do your bit to help bees by planting as many nectar and pollen-rich plants as you can - buddleia, lavender, scabious
and clover are just a few plants that come up trumps.