I love the fact that here in France I don’t have to go out for a walk to spot wildflowers, this morning walking around our garden I spotted a patch of red dead-nettle.
Deep pink-purple flowers form whirling clusters amongst the leaves towards the top of the plant. The leaves themselves are hairy, heart-shaped and have shortly toothed edges. Towards the top of the plant, the leaves take on a purplish tinge.
As the name suggests, red dead-nettle has no sting. It is extremely common throughout France and is one of the first flowers to appear in spring, flowering from March (often earlier) right through to October. It can be found along the side of roads, on waste land; just about anywhere the ground has been cultivated.
Although classed by many as a weed, its flowers are extremely attractive to bees and provide a valuable source of nectar to emerging bees in early spring when other flowers are sparse. If you find a patch in your garden, why not leave it for the bees to enjoy?