Sunday, 5 July 2015

Practical Session Report - July 2015

Creeping Jenny
Today was a wonderfully sunny, if rather hot session. Again we had more plants in flower than I had rows on my recording form (note to self: improve recording form)!

We had some more visitors today, including a lovely lady from Corston, a village that's a little less than 4 miles north of St Giles. I advised a good dose of yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor) for the small meadow she'd like to incorporate into the churchyard there.

Speaking of yellow rattle, it's been a wonderful year for it at our churchyard. We have three patches of long grass that have yellow rattle and I recorded two of them last year. The first patch increased from 75 to 95, with the other patch increasing from 64 to 178. This will, in part, be due to the additional seed we sowed last year - a simple process of throwing it on the grass and stylishly attempting to tread it into the ground.

Sue spotted a new plant to the churchyard, but it was Ivan who suggested the correct identification immediately (Sue and I weren't sure because the book we were using didn't quite match, but later research did agree with Ivan's assessment). This new comer is one of at least 300 species in its genus and is most likely common skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata). It is particularly appropriate due to the monuments that include skulls on the tombstones and within the church - and can apparently be used for herbal tea.

Earlier I keyed out an umbel that Sue and I spotted to be ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria). I was surprised that on our original flora list circa 1998, we had an entry for ground elder. Therefore We've either missed it for 4 years in a row, or it's making a good come back with the appearance of 5 or 6 plants all in the tomb area of the churchyard (as Sue pointed out to me on the phone; it's probably the former).

Sadly my family and I won't be able to attend the next session, Saturday 25 July, but the team will be there. So, feel free to join them if you're in the area. Tea and biscuits, the staple of all conservation activities, will be provided!

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