Encouraging the Next Generation into Botany

It's a relatively quiet time for wildflowers now, so I thought I would write a short blog on sharing the joy of wildflowers with my Grand Daughter, JJ. She is just 12 years old but has been coming out with me and her Nan for a few years now. Given that many of our days out are botany related, she has now amassed a fair amount of knowledge of identifying wildflowers - and fungi, butterflies and bugs of course. JJ admiring thousands of naturalised Narcissus cyclamineus at Hilly Wood, Kent. JJ is like most other children, usually glued to a tablet or TV, but she does like to go outdoors as well, in particular to woodlands where she has seen far more of nature than her whole class at school put together has seen. She has learned the names of many common wildflowers, including most Dead-Nettles, Groundsel, various Buttercups and so on. On a school trip to a woodland camp when she was about to leave primary school, she surprised the teachers by knowing all the pla

New Year Plant Hunt 2017/18 - Kent : Part 2 : Swanscombe & Strood

This concluding part of my New year Plant Hunt covers 31st December and 1st January. Swanscombe The area covered was mainly Manor Way, nearby road verges and a small bit of Swanscombe Marshes. It was full of litter from the numerous lorries that overnight here on a regular basis, including full plastic bottles of urine. Thus you can see I don't necessarily select beautiful areas to hunt for wildflowers.  I have mostly excluded species I found in Part 1 so as not to duplicate things. Yarrow was flowering almost everywhere in Kent a week before the hunt, but a couple of hard frosts killed off most of the flowers. So I was lucky to find a couple still going. Achillea millefolium Red Valerian loves "waste" areas as well as coasts and here was no exception. Centranthus ruber Along the road verge I came across numerous Creeping Thistles with flowers in bud, so I was pleased to find one with flowers sufficient