Lullingstone & Dry Hill CPs, Kent - 25th July 2016

We visited 3 venues this day: The A225 Roadside Nature Reserve near Eynsford Lullingstone Country Park, and: Dry Hill Nature Reserve All in the Sevenoaks area. This is the only site I know for Green-flowered Helleborines in Kent. They are a wild orchid but most unimpressive, as this variant has flowers that self pollinate and never open. They're right by the A225 near Eynsford on the verge. Epipactis phyllanthes var. degenera This is all you see of most flowers, they just don't open. I have known people prise open the sepals to get a photo but it's not something I would do. If this is its natural state then that's how it gets photographed. Much of this part of the RNR is heavily overgrown with trees but this Purple Toadflax got around that by growing out from them at 45 degrees towards the light. What's more, it was a pink variant. Linaria purpurea That was it for flowers here. Further along the road in May were hu

Botanical Recording near Meopham, Kent, 24th July 2016

I'm a couple of weeks behind on my blogs now, so this already seems like distant history, despite it being less than a month ago. Anyway, when I get time I try to record plants in 1km OS map squares (monad) with hardly any records in order to bolster the records for the next BSBI atlas. This day, I was revisiting a monad to the West of Meopham via public footpaths. I had last visited in late October last year so I hoped to find new records at this time of the year. As I walked down a country lane noting plants along the way, I had some company that I shooed off the road for their own safety. I'm not a bird person, so I don't even know what they are. There were several of these beautiful Nettle-leaved Bellflowers in hedgerows throughout the walk, quite an impressive wildflower, they can grow reasonably tall and usually have multiple blue/lilac flowers. Campanula trachelium As I left the road and ventured into the

Bogs, Shingle & Sand Dunes, Kent 17th July 2016 Part 3 - Sand Dunes

After leaving Dungeness I travelled the short distance to Greatstone-on-Sea. This is still within the Dungeness NNR but is a completely different habitat being made of sand. For getting on a mile or so there is a section of beach backed by long established sand dunes, which in turn are bordered by houses, gardens and the coast road. I took this photo as a habitat photo for Sea Holly, a Kent RPR species in itself, but the photo shows a typical part of the habitat, though there are many hills/dunes made of sand as well. Vegetation is well established, so there isn't much in the way of dune movement. One of the peculiarities of these dunes is the abundance of garden escapes which seem to thrive in sand. Rather odd really, as most people put them into well composted gardens, water and feed them and so on, yet many do as well or better on dry sandy soil with hardly any water! One such garden escape that you really cannot miss at this time of the year is this! It's a Bla