Archive for the 'Plants' Category

12th February 2012, Sunday


Yesterday I noticed some curious icicles on an ash sapling on the footpath near Rye Harbour church. On closer inspection there were several examples of an icicle forming where sap was oozing from a fresh cut – by secateurs?

31st December 2011, Saturday

More December Blooms

Bur Parsley (or Bur Chervil – above) was flowering this morning in a sheltered spot on Rye Harbour Farm – the Collins Flower Guide flowering period is May-Jun! In my garden there was also Lesser Periwinkle flowering (the guide says Mar-May).

27th December 2011, Tuesday

Winter blooms

The primroses are still in bloom and there are buds just opening. They have now been in flower in the same small spot continually since October. Unless we have some cold weather to kill off the flowers they will be blooming well into January. Also found a couple of ragged robin blooms and more white dead nettle today

20th December 2011, Tuesday

December Flowers

Our monthly mean minimum temperature was 2degC higher than average in October and 3.6 higher in November, so there are many unseasonal flowers in bloom – more weather detail here
Rye Harbourdaisy, feverfew, teasle (above), wall germander, gorse, viper’s bugloss, fennel, ragwort, annual mercury, shepherd’s purse, scarlet pimpernel, autumn hawkbit, bristly ox-tongue, common mallow, bramble, red valerian, alexanders, black mustard, charlock, bur parsley, lesser periwinkle.
Pett Level corn marigold, ragged robin, purple viper’s bugloss (Phil Jones), Scentless mayweed, perennial sowthistle, hogweed, a hawkweed sp., bristly ox-tongue, red clover, buttercup sp., blackberry, yarrow, common knapweed, gorse, dandelion (Ian Hunter)
Peasmarshprimrose, white dead-nettle, winter heliotrope, red campion, a buttercup, selfheal, common dog violet, prickly sow thistle (Gordon Jarvis)
Brede Valleyprimrose, common knapweed, dyers greenweed, ox-eye daisy, bramble (Philip Newton), yarrow (Cliff Dean)
Seddlescombe nipplewort, bramble, red campion, herb robert, petty spurge, annual meadow grass and hairy bitter-cress. These quite often have flowers in the colder months. Two more interesting manifestations of the milder weather are open flowers on spurge-laurel (Daphne laureola) and butcher’s broom (Ruscus aculeatus) both of which do not normally have flowers out until January or February. (Patrick Roper)
Westfield corky-fruited water dropwort and betony (Ralph Hobbs)
Fairlight honeysuckle (John Pryor)

Have you seen any wild flowers in bloom during December? Let me know if you have seen any in the RX area and I will add to the list. E-mail me

17th November 2011, Thursday

Garden Sightings

In my Rye Harbour garden last evening there was a Pipistrelle Bat flying around the tree tops, then as I watched it a Sparrowhawk appeared and chased it in a loop, but the bat escaped. Then this morning a Black Redstart was in front of the kitchen window. Still flowering in the garden is some Wall Germander (a captive population from Camber Castle!).

18th August 2011, Thursday


Last summer I was shown a strange looking plant in fruit at Moneypenny that I had not seen before and could not identify.  The fruits were distinctive, lined in pairs along the stem, pointing to the sky with a pair of roughly hairy leaves hanging below them.   

Henbane fruits

Returning to the same location this week I found Read the rest of this entry »

18th August 2011, Thursday

Green monster

The march of Crassula helmsii or Australian Swampweed or New Zealand Pigmyweed goes on across the RX area and freshwater wetland wildlife is suffering. At Castle Water the thick, soft cushion of greenery is extending across the bare mud and over the plants colonising the created wetland there. One obvious casualty is the Lesser Water Plantain at its only county site! It is even giving off a strange oily smell, so it is definately evil. Lets hope the authorities sort out the biological control because it is marching across Pett Level, Walland Marsh and Dungeness…
Read the rest of this entry »

18th August 2011, Thursday

Blue Fleabane

At Rye Harbour along the Nook Drain just east of the caravan site there is a good display of Knapweed, but in amongst it Colin Page found a good number of Blue Fleabane flowers.

20th July 2011, Wednesday

Crepis foetida, by the Kilo

I have previously reported on the numbers of this endangered plant at Dungeness and Rye, which declined by 90% and 50% respectively.  I have been delaying monitoring the Northiam population because the plants were growing so close together that the only way to count them was pull them up and count the tap roots.  I have been resisting the urge, however:

  1. As they start to seed there is only so much a patient wife (and neighbours) will take, and
  2. At this stage the plants produce a bed of seedlings which are disrupted if you uproot the parent plants later in the year.

The result of this was a record breaking count for this site of 1800 plants (and I may yet find more), up 550% on last year.


This plant shows a nice cyclical pattern of boom and bust so far, although Read the rest of this entry »

12th July 2011, Tuesday

Encounters on a neighbours lawn

I am blessed with good neighbours either side of our house.  They let me do odd things like crawl over their lawn counting stinking hawk’s-beards.  I was doing that today when I had two surprises.

Surprise 1

A heath bumblebee Bombus jonellus.  This is one of our smallest bumbles and I last recorded it in our garden in 2007.  To be honest it was so long ago that I was starting to doubt the identification.  This species is superficially similar to the small garden bumblebee (but much smaller, and with a short face).  But there it was, an exquisite little 2nd generation worker about 10 mm long, feeding on a white clover flower, and unmistakeable.  This lawn is usually mown short, but had a covering of white clover flowers  held close to the ground.  Now our lawn is managed to produce flowers (they stand tall and proud and scream out Pollen and Nectar), and are inspected daily for bees, but have I seen any there this year? Eventually I did disturb it and it flew off over our garden – my 10th* bumblebee species for the year in the garden, then I had surprise 2

Surprise 2

So attentively had I been Read the rest of this entry »