The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) run a New Year Plant Hunt over the new year period each year. The aim is to find which wild or naturalised plants are in bloom at this time of the year across Britain and Ireland then compare the results year on year.
It's good fun and an excuse to get outdoors after eating too much seasonal food! More people are taking part each year and it generates positive publicity for botany from TV and the press each year, either with unusual plants found in flower or a large number in flower.
Even now, most botanical books give flowering times which rarely include the end of December into early January, yet each year there are at lest 40 plants in flower, often more.
See http://bsbi.org/new-year-plant-hunt for results from previous years.
Here are my finds for the plant hunt over three days from 30/12/17 to 01/01/18 starting with Day 1.
30/12/17 - Folkestone Leas to Sandgate : in (mostly) scientific name alphabetical order.
Three-cornered Garlic or Leek, a naturalised alien that had escaped from gardens onto the shingle at Sandgate. This was not in flower last Winter until early March in 2017.
This is a common native coastal plant called Thrift. This species was originally planted at the Leas, but they had escaped onto the shingle near the Folkestone end. They are often found flowering on cliff tops as well.
One of the commonest Winter flowering plants is the humble Daisy and here was no exception.
Another spreading naturalised garden escape species is the Pot Marigold. it's popping up in numerous places in Kent lately. Here, I found it on the shingle near the Folkestone car park, no doubt seeding from the nearby Leas gardens. During the year I found a beautiful specimen flowering in the kerb of the sea front road at Herne Bay and masses of them on a road verge and not near habitation at Barton Point, Sheppey.
Another very common plant is Shepherd's Purse, originally an arable weed (and it still is) but also great at colonising urban areas, waste ground, pavements and as here, lawn edges.
The next photo shows their heart shaped seeds developing which is the easiest way to identify this plant.