Sunday, 31 May 2009

Monkeys and lizards

Another weekend with wall-to-wall sunshine.....lovely. So it's off out again to look for orchids, firstly to the wonderful Parkgate Down for monkey orchids, which were there in dozens.
Also, a greater butterfly orchid, standing proud amongst the monkeys.
Later in the weekend, a couple of trips to Sandwich Bay in search of lizard orchids. Again, there are plenty, although only just starting to flower.
It's good to see such rare plants thriving in their own particular habitats. I became the proud owner of Eric Philp's masterful Atlas of Kent Flora this weekend, and the maps clearly show how isolated such species are in the county - lizard orchids are only found here at Sandwich, and the monkey orchids were in only one site near Faversham until someone collected some seeds and spread them illicitly at Parkgate.

I was intrigued to see a photo in the book of sea holly broomrape, which is only found at Sandwich Bay, and nowhere else in the UK. This was the only possible union of these two species that I could find, although there were plenty of clove-scented (bedstraw) broomrapes, and sea holly plants without their parasites.
Another plant that is almost restricted to this area is sand catchfly, which took rather more searching for, being tiny and not abundant. Cute.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, tree lupins have become established in a few coastal sites in Kent, including on the Cinque Ports golf course. As they seem to be spreading successfully, the cry of 'not more bloody lupins' will soon be heard from the greenkeepers.

And finally......good to see that the landlord of the Lord Clyde shows his support for the Manchester United even after their poor performance against Barcelona.


Mary said...

How wonderful to stroll among the wild orchids. I think those monkey ones are so cool. I like the tree lupins...very pretty! But, then I don't like golf :-)

DOT said...

Thank you for the thumb and finger, I have trouble assessing the scale of the flora you picture knowing nuffing.

Greenie said...

Steve ,
As soon as I saw Monkeys and Lizards , I knew it had to be Park Gate Down .
Now you've got the book , we'll be expecting lots more rarities .
Interesting as ever .

Roger said...

Hey, I only found out about this site at the weekend, as a result of a link from another blog, and already I'm seeing some interesting stuff here!
I actually parked up in Kingsdown when I came down for a bike ride along the seafront, on Friday afternoon.
Largely I was happy to just enjoy the blaze of colour of all the plants and flowers on the shoreline, without looking to see what individual species they were, but I definitely remember the double-take that came when I saw the tree lupins (as in 'Sheesh, how come that there's a tree... but it's got flowers on it that look like lupins?)
Another one that stood out was a terrific honeysuckle, also on the edge of the golf course.

abbey meadows said...

I'd love to see some of the plants you have down there. Sand catchfly looks a wonderful plant.