Thursday, June 21, 2007

Getting wet

My early forays to explore the local botany seem always to end up focussing on pools.
Exploring The Begwns - a local National Trust open area above Clyro - I soon stumbled upon one and spent the next hour or so getting soaked as I strove for the best angle on the delights around the shore.

Shoreweed doesn't throw up a flower stem unless conditions are right (and then only a male one) so on spotting this I had to get a good picture. It's only when you get up close (and wet !) that you can appreciate that this is a flower of standard construction - just rather differently proportioned from most - and a very unusual Plantain (because that is the family) in having a solitary flower on each stem - hence the Latin name Littorella uniflora. Then I got wetter trying to get a good shot of the female flower lurking at the base of the plant.

...And of course all achieved with minimal disturbance - a principle I try to be true to whatever the problems - I know flower photographers have a bad reputation with some wildlife conservationists.

Not that the sheep who graze the area have such scruples - the Marsh Speedwell was holding on bravely despite them.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Local sites you never quite get round to

Eighteen years in the West country and I never once went to see the "Bath Asparagus" in it's flowering season.

So, now that I live in Wales, I decided that I must make a slight detour from a trip to a meeting in Radstock and see them. Well worth a drive through the lanes south of Bradford on Avon at this time of year. The local name reflects the fact that people used to eat it cooked like Asparagus. Maybe they still do - but if it was really great then wouldn't the TV chefs be using it ?

Reminds me of the reports that "Alexanders" used to be eaten as a vegetable "before the introduction of Celery" (I read somewhere). A correspondent who has tried it told me that, now he has done so, he understands why Celery replaced it !

Oh and I noticed that it (the Bath Asparagus) was still showing in the hedgerows towards but not right up to Radstock going back west - in lanes I have often travelled - but that would have been on the way to the pub...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Nice examples

It isn't all about finding rare and obscure flowers. Getting to know my new locality I soon found some old favourites on the Wye bank plus a really attractive spray of a Water Forget-me-not I have seen before but always in less than ideal conditions. So it's nice to be able to add a picture of which I am somewhat proud of a splendid species.

(What's more it is one that you would expect to find in such a location - unlike the Philadelphus near it - must be a garden escape from the houses nearby.)

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Back now I hope

Installed in new house and the boxes emptied - and a lot of botanical opportunities missed during the period...

But some were grabbed - see Sticky Catchfly for instance and Lesser Marshwort found while exploring a botanically rich pool that is now "close to home".

But the tragedy was realising - just a little too late that I now live not at all far from one of the four known stations for Rock Cinquefoil - it had finished flowering when I got there !

It's not just the rarities that matter though - I am already enjoying finding relatively common flowers that were not common (or maybe just not spotted) in my old haunts. See the recent additions list.