Tuesday 24 December 2019

Christmas Message 2019 from BSBI President Lynne Farrell

Lynne at home in Arnside with a
copy of Grassland Plants of the
British & Irish lowlands

Image: L. Marsh
We’ve all had a busy year of botanical recording for Atlas 2020 so the festive season offers a chance to unwind and recharge our batteries. I’m going to enjoy browsing through my copy of BSBI’s latest publication, Grassland plants of the British & Irish lowlands – highly recommended. 

I’ll also be entering the final batch of records from VC103 Mid Ebudes (Mull, Coll and Tiree), where I’m County Recorder, before the deadline of end of December. If you have any plant records that you haven’t yet sent through to your County Recorder, you’ll have to get your skates on! And I’d like to say a big thank you to all of you for all your hard work notching up those plant records – thanks to all of you, there are now 43.6 million records in the BSBI Database.

Other plans for the coming days? I’m now based in Arnside, in the Lake District, so I’m involved with Back On Our Map (BOOM), a wildlife project for the Morecambe Bay area. They have plans to reinstate various species to the area, including seven rare plants. Read more about the project here.

Mistletoe on a tree near
Kimbolton, Hunts.
(Lynne's former hunting ground)
Image: L. Farrell
I’ll also be thinking about the wildlife in my garden: holly berries from the Christmas decorations, and some cooking apples that are past their best, will end up on my lawn so I can watch the blackbirds fighting over them! And I won’t be throwing the mistletoe away either - I’ll be trying to get it established on my apple tree by smearing the berries along a branch. If you want to have a go at this as well, do let me know how you get on. 

There’s an interesting paper in British & Irish Botany by John Box about mistletoe on oak and there are also papers in back copies of Watsonia, BSBI’s former scientific journal. All the papers are available online in the BSBI Publications Archive and there’s a handy index here prepared for us by Gwynn Ellis.

I’m looking forward to doing my New Year Plant Hunt probably in the Arnside allotments, as that is likely to be a good hunting ground, and I’ll be keeping an eye on the Results map to see which plants everyone else finds in bloom across Britain and Ireland. My predecessor as President, Chris Metherell, will be taking part in a challenge with one of our younger members to see which of them can notch up the most species on their patch in the north-west.

Ro Scott helping Lynne with her NPMS plot
on Coll in base-rich, tall herb fen
Image: L. Farrell
Next year’s plans include more visits to the Mid Ebudes where – as well as being County Recorder - I also record four monitoring plots on Mull, Coll and Tiree as part of the National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS). I’m looking forward to telling you more about the Scheme next year – following on from last month’s interview for this News & Views blog, I’ve agreed to do another one about the NPMS. 

I’ll also be getting to grips with Twitter - my new account is here. And as BSBI President there will be many committee meetings to attend and emails to answer - I hope to hear from lots of you! But first let’s all enjoy a well-earned rest.

Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas, a very Happy New Year Plant Hunt and all the best for 2020.   

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