Showing posts from March, 2016

Ightam Mote & Betsham 25/03/16

Ancient stone buildings are always worth a good look at for botanical finds though it's a bit early yet for most. However, with an early Easter holiday, we headed out for Scotney Castle, a beautiful National Trust property with many botanical interests, both wild and cultivated. However, that was not to be as the traffic jams were so bad we diverted to NT Ightam Mote instead. This was also packed but at least we got a spot in the main car park. Later on, people had to park a long way up the approach road. As we walked down the path to the old house, we had a good look on the walls surrounding it. I could make out Rue leaved Saxifrage rosettes, but it was too early for flowers.  I did find some attractive mosses though. Thanks to my Twitter followers for the IDs.  Bryum capillare Tortula muralis While very interesting, nothing on the walls was flowering, so we headed up around the grounds to see what we could find. First up was the

Kent Wildlife Trust Queendown Warren Reserve 17/03/16

This reserve sits on a dry chalk valley in the North Downs, South of Sittingbourne. It used to be renowned for its variety of orchids, but these have diminshed over the years. However, there are still lots of plants of interest along with butterflies, insects and more. It's too early in the year to see any orchids, but the single Lizard Orchid is already growing its rosette. I don't know why it hasn't spread over the years to form a colony as it's flowered the last 2 years for sure. Elsewhere in Kent, Lizard Orchid colonies have doubled in size over a few years, so, overall they seem to be doing well in Kent. Himantoglossum hircinum But at this time of the year, the grassy banks of the reserve are dotted with Violets. It takes a while to get the hang of identifying the different types though. It's easy to think they are all Sweet Violets, which flower first, however, with the topsy turvy weather, Dog and HairyViolets are also out now.

Short Walk at Ranscombe Farm, Kent, 15th March 2016

Ranscombe Farm is a fantastic place for wildflowers all year round in the Medway Valley with good public access. It is run by the only charity for wildflowers, Plantlife, of which I am a member. Rather than wax lyrical about it, read about it from this web link. Ranscombe Farm We didn't have long for a walk, which is the usual in midweek due to work. The main car park is right by the A228 main road, which is also managed for wildflowers. Right by the car was a rosette of the Man Orchid. These are Endangered nationally, but are fairly common in North Kent. Orchis anthropophora I then had a look along the main road verge which is also managed for wildflowers. The first flowering plant was Hairy Bittercress, a troublesome weed in many gardens. They are very similar to Wavy Bittercress and can distinguished easily by Hairy having the seeds overtopping the flowers, which is rare in Wavy Bittercress. Cardamine hirsuta Another tiny flower along the