Thursday 18 August 2022

Restoration: August report by BSBI President Lynne Farrell

In July, BSBI President Lynne Farrell was in the Julian Alps in Slovenia, but in recent weeks she has been back in the UK - here is Lynne's report for August: 

"Now that we have been able to resume normal activities and ‘restore’ ourselves by being out in the wider countryside, I have been to some old haunts and some new ones. 

"The old one was where I used to live in Hemingford Grey, Cambs., and I visited the Manor House by the River Ouse. This has a wonderful garden created over many years by Lucy Boston (author of the Greenknowe series of children’s books) and now cared for by her daughter-in-law, Diana, who has become more interested in native plants and is integrating them into the garden as a whole. One of the areas of lawn is now a patch of cornfield species (image on right).

"A new area for me was at Haweswater, Cumbs., where the RSPB are restoring the large site by using grazing by traditional breeds such as Belted Galloways and Highland cattle. Planting of native species grown from seed is also being undertaken and they have a large plant nursery, which needs three hours of watering each day, especially in the hot weather. Students and volunteers are kept busy with this activity and recording. 

"The cattle seemed to be as interested in the visiting BSBI botanists (image on right) as we were in recording the plants, but they soon returned their attention to the job of grazing the land. The best find of the day was Adder's-tongue fern Ophioglossum vulgatum, a new site record.

"The site manager, Lee Schofield, has written a book about the whole project entitled Wild Fell: Fighting for Nature on a Lake District Farm. The title itself indicates part of the story. 

"I find the mixture of familiar and new a good way to restore myself too".

Tuesday 16 August 2022

Going slow in the Julian Alps, Slovenia: July report by BSBI President Lynne Farrell

Last time we heard from BSBI President Lynne Farrell, she was out and about in Cumbria and in Wales.

Then in July she headed further afield, to Slovenia. 

Here is her report:

"This month I escaped to further afield despite British transport disruptions and joined a trip to the Julian Alps, Slovenia, based in Bohinj near where the International Wild Flower Festival is held in late Spring.  It is an area with magnificent scenery and, of course, fantastic plants. 

"I realised that Slovenia has no coastline so the lakes are very popular in summer for recreational water sports and in winter the mountains are ski-resorts (not to mention cyclists for those of you who are Tour de France supporters).

"As the temperature was 30C on most days, dipping into Lake Bohinj helped cool off later in the day. Thunder and lightning occurred late in the evening which lit up the mountains spectacularly.

"Many species of Lily, Saxifrages, Broomrape, Cinquefoil, Bellflower and Thistles are particularly diverse and difficult to determine, but we did manage some including a few species I had hoped to see such as Phyteuma (Physoplexis) comosum, (Devil’s Claw, image on left) and Potentilla nitida (Pink Cinquefoil, image top right), both favourites of alpine plant growers. 

"There are a few hazards including Cirsium spinosissimum (The Spiniest Thistle, image below).

"One of the most interesting aspects to me is seeing some of our rare mountain plants growing in abundance with many other species accompanied by species that do not occur in Britain and Ireland, providing a veritable botanical feast."

Many thanks to Lynne for this report and for the gorgeous photos - although That Spiniest Thistle certainly deserves its name!