Sunday, July 18, 2010

Not the Nerd in me

I am doing a survey tomorrow. I have signed up to do a Wildflower Count  for a charity called Plantlife. All I have to do is walk a route for 1 Km on across a Km square that is not too far from me.I have to record all the Common species on the route 2m to the left of the path .Colin is coming with me so I have adapted the walk so that we can get home without a 3 mile walk. The instructions say you need to have some one with you for safety. The instructions are easy to read and understand. 
I have been a botanist since I was  a child. Daughters of fly fishermen have to sit for hours by the side of rivers keeping quiet and not moving.  
At  Whythes Farm near Kirkby Moorside the York Fly Fishers (my father was a member) rented a stretch of the River Dove, which flows into the Rye and then the Derwent. It was the dullest place for a girl to spend a day.It was so boring  that I started identifying all the plants on the river bank. I was quickly  sucked in to the thrall of it all. By the time I was 13 I spent every evening copying pages out of floras. Other river banks were quietly explored; the Derwent near Yedingham, the Hull at Hempholme, the Bain and Ure in Wensleydale. My greatest plant finds as a child were the Burnt Tip Orchid (Orchis ustulata) and Asarabacca (Asarum europaeum). 
At 19 I was out every evening collecting for my Herbarium. I have pressed, sorted , named and not named .

  That was over forty years ago! I am beginning again. I am already excited at the prospect of finding and naming. I will not be picking and pressing. I have just dug out my flora. I have always used McClintock and Fitter 'Collins Pocket Guide to Wild Flowers'. My copy is dropping to bits- I have used it for 50 years. I have many other floras , can even do it the real way with CTW, but every picture is a friend in my special book. 

I hope this is is Red Bartsia (Odontites verna ), I found it growing in a wheat field at Rudston last week. I have never seen one before . 
It is mid July. and yet all the late summer flowers are already out.  The Rosebay Willow herb is already sending its seeds across Yorkshire. 
So I am looking forward to tomorrow-and will take lots of digital photos. Was never able to do that in 1961.

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