Monday, 5 June 2017

Its a Mixed up Muddled up Shook up World

West Yorkshire has more than its fair share of post industrial land. Much of it has now been reclaimed by nature and a lot of it has been 'restored'. The latter normally means too little patience to let nature take its course, so seed mixes and plantings are thrown about like they are going out of fashion. The end results are always a delight for the eye and provide much of interest for botanists, who are also the only people likely to notice whats wrong.

St Aidan's (VC64) is one such place, and as its behind my village it is a good local spot in easy reach from home. Five years in it is still throwing up new plants for me. I spent Sunday afternoon on The Hillside. I hadn't appreciated how many rose species there were up there. Within an hour, and ignoring the undoables, I had Sweet-briar (Rosa rubiginosa), Dog-rose (Rosa canina groups Lutetiana and Transitoriae), Glandular Dog-rose (Rosa squarrosa aka group Dumales), Hairy Dog-rose (Rosa corymbifera aka group Pubescentes), the common hybrid Rosa x dumalis sens. lat. (canina x vosagiaca), Soft Downy-rose (Rosa mollis) which surprisingly had white flowers (but perhaps bleached as pink beneath and in bud) but otherwise (pending fruit) looked typical, and Sherard's Downy-rose (Rosa sherardii). Last two in sequence below.

Rosa mollis

Rosa sherardii

However, the best was yet to come. I have been  waiting for Round-leaved Dog-rose (Rosa obtusifolia) for so long. You really do have to scrutinise and mull every bush to find the goods. Delightfully delicate furry leaves, and white flowers.

Some of the planted and regenerating birches had tiny leaves and originated from further north, completely the wrong form for lowland Leeds. This was Fragrant Downy Birch (Betula pubescens subsp. tortuosa).

Elsewhere the grasslands had Rough Hawk's-beard (Crepis biennis) (terrible photos) and the tussock-form of Red Fescue (Festuca rubra subsp. commutata).

Next up and one of the treasures of June was the impossible to photograph Grass Vetchling (Lathyrus nissola) by the line drag, and then Cultivated Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa subsp. sativa) on the causeway.

And to end on an orchid, here is one of the many hundreds of Common Spotted x Southern Marsh-orchid (Dactylorhiza x grandis). The orchids are getting better year on year.

Finally, not in St Aidan's but near home (VC63) there was this stunning hybrid ragwort (Senecio x albescens). I must remember to go back and see in flower.

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