Rag Week

The heatwave has brought the ragwort into flower early. There isn't a lot of it, but it's blooming beautifully; threatened by drought, it will seed rapidly and each plant can produce as many as 150,000 seeds. So..... it's time for all those who complained about the spraying in the spring to turn out to pull... Continue Reading →

Thanks to the farmer

Our grateful thanks go to the park's tenant farmer. He has done us proud. This year he has taken a new approach; he has broken the park up into a patchwork so that while the  three big fields were cut for silage in May, the rest was cut for haymaking in June. This left large... Continue Reading →

Hogweed

This is hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium), first cousin to the giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) which the Daily Mail tells us has invaded Virginia and will blind us all. "A horror plant that causes third-degree burns and permanent blindness has been spotted in Northern Virginia..." Daily Mail 6th July Both species contain phytophototoxic chemicals; if you get... Continue Reading →

The structure of orchids

We sent DKG, and his macro lens, to look at the common spotted orchids in Village Green.     Orchid flowers appear very variable but are, in fact, all built to a unique but simple pattern. Orchids have three sepals, three petals and a column which contains the reproductive organs. Sepals are the petal-like structures... Continue Reading →

Common spotted orchids

A message from Chris Seymour: "Just wanted to share my photos of the orchids in the country park. I have been waiting for months to see them flower." Thank you, Chris, for such beautiful pictures. These are common spotted orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii); the three deep lobes in the lip of the flower and its spotted... Continue Reading →

Stinking Willie and Marefart

Ragwort has many common names; in fact some, like stinking willie and marefart, are downright vulgar. Both refer to the plant's unpleasant smell. Another set of names, staggerwort, stammerwort and sleepy-dose, are about to its toxicity.  Then there is felon weed, swine grass and our personal favourites: scrog and weeby. To go with its unsavoury nicknames, Ragwort... Continue Reading →

By DKG: "A few photos from a stroll last night, unfortunately the cloud closed in and even a few spots of the wet stuff, very dull and dismal. The Bluebells are situated in the copse  in Brunt's Field; a lovely display this year after the haloing last year. There is no sign of the green... Continue Reading →

Invasion of the Spanish squills

Our native species of bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) is threatened by the spread of Spanish squill (Hyacinthoides hispanica), a similar species imported into our gardens from southern Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries. Our native bluebells are dark blue and fragrant, with flowers on just one side of the stem producing that characteristic droop; the... Continue Reading →

Sunday Morning in the Park

BY IAN B. Pleasant saunter with Pat and all the hounds this morning round Southwick Country Park.  The long tailed tit’s nest is now finished with a cladding of lichen.     Two reports: a little egret at the pond and a barn owl hunting on Lambrok Meadow but we didn't see either. We looked for the... Continue Reading →

Lesser Celandine

The lesser celandine (Ficaria verna) is the floral equivalent of the swallow, it appears around the same time and marks the coming of spring. In fact the word celandine comes from the Greek name for swallow: chelidon. One of its local names is spring messenger; others are brighteye, butter and cheese, frog's foot, golden guineas... Continue Reading →

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