2015 Flower Reports

Flower report 2015

By Charles Helm

Early 2015 was again relatively mild and frost free. In mid-January I saw the first Snowdrop near Cross Lanes Farm, Garriston. Next month early Celandine were in flower along the raised footpath between Harmby and Spennithorne. By the end of February Garlic and Bluebell leaves showed, and Elder and Hawthorn was in bud. Snowdrop, particularly good this year, were at their best by early March, when the first Primrose appeared. On March 10th Jenny White reported Green Hellebore on Ure side above Wensley. Now Coltsfoot was in flower and, in hedgerows, Gooseberry in leaf. On 20th Sheila Simms reported Sweet Cicely in flower in Walden - very early for this lovely Dales flower. A few days later we saw Sweet Violet in the lane near Harmby railway-bridge, Golden Saxifrage by the waterfall, and the first Marsh Marigold below Throstle Nest Farm.

By early April Danish Scurvygrass flowered in many roadside locations including outside The Old School House, Leyburn. A warm spell had plants and hedgerows bursting forth including Blackthorn, Stitchwort, Moschatel, Garlic, and the first Bluebell in Bolton Hall Woods. In and around Nosterfield Reserve we saw many white Violet, early Common Vetch, the odd Cowslip and, in other areas, more purple Sweet Violet than we had seen before. In late April and early May there was a quite long cold spell, but it remained mainly dry, and the orchids and Cowslip in Leyburn Glebe Field were, again small, though plentiful.

During early May, above the road near Stoneham Cottage, in an area cleared of trees last year, a wide variety of flowers began, and continued throughout Summer, culminating in a profusion of Giant Bellflower. In nearby Condenser Wood there was a spectacular display of Early Purple Orchid close to the public footpath. On the 14th, on the Society's visit to East Witton Lodge on a very cold day, we saw a whole range of Spring flowers including the first May blossom. By May end the early orchids and Cowslip in Leyburn Glebe Field were nearly over but now there were Twayblade, Yellow Rattle and Milkwort and, near the hedge-side, some exceptionally tall and fine Bugle. May was a cold month though, as always, plants grew quite well. But, during the annual walk that the YNHS lead for the Wensleydale Railway, on the same date as last year, there were noticeably fewer flowers.

Cold continued in early June but now Sweet Cicely flowered abundantly along roads, and Crosswort seemed everywhere, particularly good this year. In Freeholders' Wood we managed to find Herb Paris flowering again. Ox-eye Daisy came out in profusion on both sides of A1(M) and continued its show for months. During the Society's Staveley Reserve visit on 18th we enjoyed seeing, amongst others, Bee Orchid and Water Violet: but this year Marsh Helleborine was delayed. Generally orchids had quite a good year, this season's weather prolonging their flowering span until well into August. Fields were made attractive by free flowering Pignut. After the improvement of weather by late June, Jean and I noted over100 species flowering during a walk in Arkengarthdale, including Meadow Saxifrage, Twayblade, Lousewort, Globeflower, Butterwort, Ragged Robin, Mountain Pansy, and Marsh Valerian, as well as some remaining Spring flowers. Again, in early July, over 100 flowers were seen, this time walking out on Leyburn Shawl, and back along the Ure between Lord's Bridge and Wensley.

During Summer, Rosebay Willowherb, Meadow Cranesbill, and Meadowsweet displayed and, in Swaledale, Melancholy Thistle. Elder flowers were spectacular. The riverbank below Wensley Low Lane bore Centaury, Musk Mallow, Star of Bethlehem and, on the shingle bank, Houndstongue. Fine weather continued through most of July and August with good showings of Grass of Parnassus, Devil's-bit Scabious, and Thrift at Ballowfields LNR. Pink Perslane was noted in a gateway near Worton Bridge, and Melancholy Thistle in Tennant's Field. The old railway track-bed between Bainbridge and Cams Houses always has good flowers including Bedstraws, Scabious, Knapweed, Marjoram, Harebell and Common Valerian.
Later in August, Carline Thistle flowered on Ure bank below Wanlass Farm, and Yellow Loosestrife between Lord's Bridge and Wensley. On 25th Jenny White reported fine Centaury at Marfield Quarry near Masham. Greater Knapweed isn't common in Wensleydale but, in early September, we noted it flowering by the road between Carperby and Aysgarth Falls. Wood Cranesbill still flowered on Folly Lane, Aysgarth, and Marsh Woundwort by a stream near West Burton.

Seventy species were still flowering on October 1st on a walk around Muker and Keld, including late Ragged Robin. Now trees and hedgerows bore Autumnal fruits, seemingly sparser this year.