We’re in the grip of a wintery blast here at the moment, though without the snow my friends in the Valleys have (not) been enjoying. Luckily, I managed to time my stroll around the local parks to coincide with a break in the heavy rain and hail showers, searching for whichever wildflowers I could find in bloom. They’re all rather damp but I quite like them adorned with raindrops.
It’s been a couple of weeks since I last checked which wildflowers are still flowering so, as I wandered the countryside this week, I kept my eyes open for what was still about. Perhaps surprisingly, as it has been a bit colder and frostier, those plants still flowering are pretty much the same as on my New Year’s plant hunt, with one exception. I’ve not discovered any Red Campion locally but found a couple of plants in bloom on Wednesday during my walk from Parc Slip Nature Reserve back to the railway station in Tondu. It’s the first flower shown below, and the others are all the locals I’ve spied.
From 29 December to 1 January don’t be surprised if you see people taking photos of blooming wildflowers, puzzling over pictures in ID books, scratching their heads over the differences between one plant species and another. We are the New Year Plant Hunters, doing our best to find and identify as many wildflowers in bloom as possible throughout Britain to help the BSBI (Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland) keep track of what’s happening in the botanical world around us. And you can join in. Go for a walk, list what you find and submit your list on the BSBI website. So, for day 6 of my #7DaysofWildChristmas, I took myself on a walk around Penarth and was delighted to find these 27 species in bloom.
Did you do the New Year Plant Hunt?
Running from Saturday 30 December until today, Tuesday 2 January, this was the BSBI’s (Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland) seventh annual plant hunt event. The idea is to spend three hours on one of those days (or every day, if you’re as keen as Hoary mustard), in one location (or several, if you like to roam like Ivy), trying to find as many wild or naturalised plants that are flowering as you can. You then share your finds on social media and, most importantly, you also need to send your records in to the BSBI team so they can analyse the results (full details on their website here).
On the last day of 2017 I took myself off on a wander around Penarth township and marina – basically, within the square kilometre that is ST1872 – and was delighted to find 15 different wild plants in bloom. The Field scabious was a particular highlight!