WALKING along the riverside path between Vicar's Bridge and Rackmill by Dollar was like entering a floral paradise, where an abundance of sparkling wildflowers danced and sparkled under the glow of the late spring sunshine.

It was quite astonishing how the previously winter-denuded riverbank had suddenly become enveloped in a thick flush of verdant vegetation where bees buzzed and butterflies spiralled through the air.

Trees were hanging in full leaf and the beating heart of summer is now almost upon us.

As I walked along the path, a powdering of green pollen clung to my shorts, which had been brushed off from ribwort plantain

It is one of our commonest plants and has an endearing, under-stated beauty, with their brown, oval flowerheads delicately balanced on top of thin, wiry stems.

A cornucopia of different flowers beamed out from the path edges, and it was hard to get any regular rhythm into my footfall because every so often I felt compelled to hunker down to examine some new beauty.

There was greater stitchwort, cross-wort, red campion, as well as water avens. Wood cranes-bill was especially prolific, with thick drifts of their blousy violet-blue flowers adorning the path edge in a dreamy haze of colour.

The flower of wood cranes-bill is a true show-stopper that features five intricately crafted lilac petals set upon a paler centre where the rich, life-enhancing nectar lies.

Subtle radiating lines inscribed upon the petals act likes guides to draw bees and other pollinators in towards the plant's sweet treasure chest.

A member of the geranium family, cranes-bill is a wonderfully descriptive name and refers to the elongated seedhead of the plant which for those with an imaginative disposition bears some resemblance to the beak and head of a crane.

Another flower that caught the eye was germander speedwell. Sporting small sky-blue flowers, they were like aquamarine gems scattered in among the thick tangles of grass.

This low-sprawling plant is also known as 'bird's eye' or 'cat's eye' due to the white central orb of the flower.

The origin of the name 'speedwell' may stem from the supposed medicinal properties of the plant.

In the eighteenth-century speedwell had acquired to the reputation for being good at curing gout, with the dried leaves being used to make a herbal tea.

More likely, speedwell is so-called because it was considered a good luck charm for travellers with the vibrant blue blooms helping to speed one on your way.

In Ireland, they were sometimes sewn into the clothes of travellers for good luck.