Thanks to Vivien Crump for this nice photo of a fine display of Cowslips (Primula veris)…
The photo was taken at Raleigh Pond, believed to be an old clay pit fed by an underground spring. The pond lies in Harrison’s Plantation, a Wildlife Trust nature reserve in Wollaton.
I recently visited the excellent Summerwood Community Garden in Clifton, and it was good to see that real efforts have been made to create wildlife-friendly spaces throughout the site. I was impressed by the large wildlife pond….
The pond was teeming with Dragonflies and other insects on the sunny day when I visited, and had an impressive display of wildflowers around it as well. The pond itself had a good variety of aquatic plants, most obviously White Water Lily (Nymphaea alba) and Water Soldier (Stratiotes aloides)…..
Water Soldier is an unusual and interesting plant. It spends most of the year more or less submerged, and so is easily overlooked; but it emerges from the water surface in summer, to flower….
The plant is quite rare in the wild, and is probably only truly native in parts of Eastern England – so it’s good to see it in this wildlife pond. One of many good reasons to visit Summerwood Community Garden this summer!
Thanks to Vivien Crump for this photo of a classic May woodland sight…..
Vivien took the photo in Bunny Wood – a Wildlife Trust reserve about 7 miles south of Nottingham. The reserve is one of the closest remnants of ancient woodland to the city, and is reknowned for its bluebells at this time of year. It’s a bit further out than most of the places I feature, but well worth a visit if you can get out there.
I recently noticed an interesting plant growing right by the side of the Western Boulevard ring-road…..
There is a distinctive line of white low-growing flowers alongside the road edge – this is Danish scurvy-grass (Cochlearia danica), a member of the cabbage family. Here’s a closer look, unfortunately not of the best quality….
Danish scurvy-grass is a coastal plant, whose common name derives from the fact that sailors used to chew its vitamin-C rich leaves to ward off scurvy. Its usual habitat is coastal sand, shingle and salt-marsh, but it is no surprise to find it so far inland. It is adapted to grow in places with high salt levels which would be intolerable to most species, and the application of salt to main roads in winter has made the very edge of such roads an ideal habitat for it (and not very good for much else).
The plant has therefore spread inland from the coast along roads and motorways, aided by the turbulence from passing high-speed traffic, which rapidly distributes its tiny seeds. As a result, it is now one of the most widely-expanding native plants in Britain.
Look out for it next time you’re on or near a major road – it’s flowering now and at it’s most conspicuous.
Dunkirk & Lenton Partnership Forum are organising a Wildflower Day next Tuesday, 14th April. Join them for a walk between green spaces in the area, whilst sowing bee-friendly wildflower seeds.
The walk itinerary is as follows…..
Church Square, Lenton, 1pm
Radford/Lenton Library Community Garden, 1:45pm,
Radford Recreation Ground, 2:15pm
Memorial Garden, Ilkeston Road, 3pm
At the end of the walk, there will be FREE bakery and craft stalls in the Memorial Garden, next to Radford Health Centre on Ilkeston Road – from 3pm. For more information on the event, ring 0115 958 8590.
Thanks to Sue Marshall for another picture from the threatened Radford Bridge Road Allotments in Wollaton :
It’s a view of Mistletoe (Viscum album) growing on an apple tree. Apple is one of the most common hosts for this hemiparasite, which has green leaves so it can photosynthesise, but takes other nutrients from the host. The plant is also the source of both the common and scientific names of the Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus), one of the main distributors of the plant’s berries.
There is an excellent comprehensive source of information about Mistletoe HERE.
One of the earliest harbingers of spring….
Thanks to Nic Cairns for the photo, taken at Ecoworks Community Garden.
Here’s a fine close-up of the flower of Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris) :
It was taken by regular contributor Nic Cairns on St.Ann’s Community Orchard, where it has grown on part of the site which was cleared in July for construction of a new strawbale building. The plant is a good coloniser of disturbed ground, and is doing well on the Orchard site, which will be developed as a new (hopefully biodiverse) garden when the building is finished.
Common Mallow is edible, and foragers may be interested in these recipes. Thanks for Nic for the photo.
Some very interesting orchids have been found on the St.Ann’s Allotments…..
These are examples of the Leopard Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa “junialis”), the name being derived from the ring-type “leopard” spots on the leaves. This is an unusual form of the Southern Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa), which has unspotted leaves, and was featured (along with Common Spotted Orchid) in a recent post.
Here’s a close-up of the distinctive leaves….
And of the flowers (note the different markings from those of the usual form of Southern Marsh Orchid, which have simple spots, not the hooped lines seen here)……..
This is an exciting find. Leopard Marsh Orchid is uncommonly seen in Nottingham, and it’s great that there are wild areas on the St.Ann’s site where such notable plants can survive…..
Orchids aren’t plants you’d necessarily associate with allotments, so it was good to see these on Windmill Allotments in Radford…..
The darker-flowered plant on the left is Southern Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa), whilst the lighter-flowered one is Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) – with the characteristic spotted leaves just about visible in the bottom of the photo.
Here’s a closer look at Southern Marsh Orchid…..
…..and of Common Spotted Orchid…..
These are great to see, especially the Southern Marsh Orchid, which is uncommon in Nottinghamshire. If the allotment stays under sympathetic management, these lovely plants should thrive for years to come.