Friday, January 11, 2013

New Year, New Role

I've always felt my new role as joint recorder for Breconshire would become more "real" in the New Year (although I have been doing a lot of preparation and some recording in the late autumn / winter of 2012). Even the weather seems to be more promising - although ice is forecast for the weekend. (That will teach the various spring plants in my garden a thing or two - many are being very precocious including some just-emerging Oxlip flowers on one of the plants I grew last year.)
Primula elatior, my garden, from seed, struggling this early ...
This week Paul Green (Welsh Officer standing in for Polly) called to reassure me on the role (at least that is how it seemed to me). I had known of Paul and even got help from him and his brother over the web for a long time but we only met for the first time a few months ago. Of course his (and others') Flora of Somerset was a huge help to me starting out late in life to be some sort of botanist based in Weston-super-Mare.
We went up to Henallt Common to see the Blysmus compressus site (only site in Wales ???) and there were discernible last year specimens to see. But we were both delighted to find, visiting the main Circaea x intermedia site (no sign at all as expected) that there was a Colchicum autumnale plant still flowering on the slope. Rather pitiful in the conditions but full marks for sustained effort.
Colchicum autumnale flowering in January at Henallt
This common above Hay is an abundant Colchicum site and it was good to see the evidence of serious Bracken control (thanks CCW) on an open grass slope that I am sure can be seen from our upstairs windows here in Hay. I am hoping one to day to see this pink with Colchicum flowers (not swamped by Bracken) from here.
Paul noted the "flora of De Breos Court" - where we live in Hay. The small paving stones make a good site for one or two interesting plants including a garden escape I was struggling to identify and he was able to name as Malling Toadflax, Chaenorhinum origanifolium. To my shame I later realised that David Fenwick had shown me this near Plymouth a while back.
Malling Toadflax, Chaenorhinum origanifolium
Blysmus compressus at Henallt - in the summer