For this blog I visited Littlestone, Greatstone and the ditches and dykes of the Romney Marsh in South West Kent. It's a lovely under-rated area both for beaches and wildlife, never crowded and always peaceful, though in Winter, quite bleak as well. But Winter is not yet here and I made the trip to the South coast of Kent to see what botanical marvels I might find. My first stop was on the Romney Marsh. This is an area intensely farmed with widespread use of pesticides and herbicides, but the ditches (or dykes) that criss cross the marsh are filled with wildlife. A single track road going from Brenzett towards Fairlight produced a few fine stands of Marsh Mallow, a RPR species in Kent. The Romney Marsh and the Leybourne area are the only places I know where to find it. Here's a habitat photo I took on the Marsh for this wonderful flower. Related to the Common Mallow and the Musk Mallow, the Marsh Mallow has been picked almost to extinction in the county, as Marshmall
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I'm well behind (again) with my blogs, so I apologise for that. Having had 34.4 degrees over the last few days and now down to low teens in temperature, the seasons are topsy turvy. Most wildflowers have gone over in the SE of England now, thanks to weeks of hot, dry weather. So I hope this and the following blogs rekindle the flame for finding unusual (or plain usual) wildflowers in your area. Of course, if you are from the North it's been raining a lot so I guess your wildflowers are still going strong! Rye Nature Reserve is in East Sussex, just West of Rye and Camber Sands. It's mostly a shingle habitat, which can make for interesting species. Most people visit in the Autumn and Winter for the birds, but I go there for the flowers. As you leave the car park, you walk along the edge of the River Rother, a tidal estuary with limited salt marsh. Here you can find Common Sea Lavender and other salt marsh loving species. Limonium vulgare Here'
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The M2 Farthing Corner services near Gillingham sit within a botanically under recorded OS square. To the South is an area of countryside allowing access to this square via a footpath. I haven't taken many photos as most plants were common, but exploring new areas is always interesting as I never know what I might find. Common Fleabane was present, as it is in many places now. Pulicaria dysenterica This is Lucerne, a Pea Family member. It is often found on road verges and wasteground and is also planted as a fodder crop. The yellow flowered form of this is Alfalfa. Medicago sativa subsp sativa This is another Pea, the Tall Melilot, another common road verge wildflower. It's long spikes of yellow flowers dominated this area, so I suspect they may have been sown as a fodder crop at some time in the past, though the area now looked ike it had been untouched for many years. This is an unusual view in that it is upside down, thanks t