Monday, June 22, 2009

Warkworth Sand Dune Flora










The sand dune system at Warkworth hosts a fine flora in early summer. The top picture shows biting stonecrop Sedum acre, whose succulent leaves allow it to thrive on bare sand in drought conditions. Below this is wild thyme Thymus serpyllum, which releases a wonderful herbal fragrance on hot days and hums with bumblebees visiting it flowers. The next flower down is viper’s bugloss Echium vulgare, whose bristly leaves prevent rabbits from grazing it. This too is a magnet for bees and makes an excellent plant for a bee-friendly wildlife garden. It’s a biennial, producing a rosette of leaves in its first year and a flower spike in the second. The seeds persist for a long time in the soil – I introduced some into my garden about 20 years ago and occasional seeds still germinate, without me ever having sown it again. Behind the dunes at Warkworth there’s a remarkable freshwater swamp, filled with the largest population of yellow flag Iris pseudacorus that I’ve ever seen – it must cover the best part of an acre and just now there are hundreds of plants in full bloom.

6 comments:

  1. Any sign of Sea pea? The only site in Northumberland is in Warkworth dunes.

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  2. Hi abbey meadows, I looked for it on Saturday but couldn't find any. There seems to be a lot of rabbit activity - don't know whether they eat it?

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  3. Beautiful pictures Phil.
    The viper’s bugloss is a cracker. Wouldn't mind that in my garden.

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  4. Hi keith, viper's bugloss makes an excellent garden plant - the bees love it. Mind you, you need to be a bit careful when you pull up dead plants in autumn - they're covered in painfully sharp bristly hairs...

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  5. What a lovely set of pictures, Phil. I was looking at a book about coastal flora walks which I might now buy when I see it the next time.

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  6. Hi Emma, There's an old but really good New Naturalist book on coastal wild flowers - Flowers of the Coast, by Ian Hepburn. It can be a bit pricey though, as people collect old NN volumes. Wild Flowers of the Yorkshire Coast by Nan Sykes ISBN 1 904622 02 X is an excellent, inexpensive photographic guide (£4.95 when I bought it a few years ago) and includes all the Northumbrian species. It's published by the North York Moors National Park Authority.

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