Rob Duffy: Sidewalk Botanist-June Notes

(Rob Duffy)

 

Well, there’s no need to wait till the end of the month to collect the rainfall figures but June was/will be the 5th driest month in 9.5 years of personal records.

Well, there’s no need to wait till the end of the month to collect the rainfall figures but June was/will be the 5th driest month in 9.5 years of personal records. Not since early 2011 have we had two such consecutive dry months.

My garden has turned up a couple of oddities-the very tall Melilotus (see photo caption) and Little Balsam which arose from my compost waste. A definite shade lover and only previously seen from Allerton Cemetary.

The “scrapes” in Court Hey Park are as dry as a bone and can be traversed to inspect the wetland flora-the flora of the pavement cracks too has altered completely under the unrelenting Sun but, with the disappearance of the widespread Thale Cress, many species, particularly Willowherbs, are surviving. Perhaps this is the time to get to grips with this common garden weed? Identification is not too difficult, depending on the shape of the stigma, whether there are ridges on the stem, the length of the petiole, or the length of the leaves and pods, to name but a few features. But, beware of hybridisation!

As pointed out on the web site, grasses are coming to the fore-and in many cases have “gone over”. Water Bent is a surprisingly predominant grass amidst the micro “clints and grikes”-  as pointed out on the facebook page- and Childwall (L16) has turned up a few surprises:- Annual Beard Grass and Six-rowed Barley being notable.

BioBank has its own mini flora and is currently the only location in the Park of Prickly Lettuce (believed to be an indicator of climate change). Its juxtaposition with the potted Ginko is fitting as this drought resistant tree may be going up the ranking of desirable urban trees.

The Rat’s tail Fescue and Bristly Ox-tongue  perhaps  point to the influence of BioBank’s exotic,  but still gated off, neighbour, the former NWC site. 

Rob Duffy 24/6/18