Monday, 6 April 2009

At its best?

The reserve is, perhaps, visually at its best just now.  The early dog-violets (Viola reichenbachiana) are like a patch of pale mauve-blue mist and contrast well with the rising stalks of Mrs Robb's spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides robbiae).

20090405 KWR early dog-violet 020

Most of the dead leaves seem to have settled back into a flattish carpet and the grass is rising fresh and green through those in front of the limestone rock.

The nipplewort (Lapsana communis) is spreading its basal leaves and makes an attractive contrasting feature.  It is not the sort of plant that would be recommended for ornamental gardens but, like many wild things, it has a special grace, needs no attention and seems to be proof against the depredations of slug and caterpillar.  The leaves, apparently, can be used as salad or cooked like spinach and there was a time when it was cultivated for this purpose.  I prefer to leave mine to grow unmolested.

As it is spring I did a vascular plant audit of the reserve and, to date, 28 species have bee recorded in this small area.