US social scientist Kenneth Boulding : ‘If you believe exponential growth can go on in a finite world, you are either a madman or an economist’.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

1/6/10: Botany of old Crossness Enginehouse site

Jonathan Rooks, an old wildlife mate from teenage days (who I have recently re-established contact with) is involved with the group restoring the old Victorian pumping house engines and the fabulous, cathedral-like ornate ironwork surrounding them at the 'old' Crossness Sewage Works. He is also keen to preserve and enhance the wildlife value of the site, so had asked me to run my eye over the botany, since some folk are wedded to a strict 'cut the grass' regime and need persuading of the merits of a more relaxed approach ..... As it turned out, there was a bit of a drizzle on, and although he'd brought down his mower to go over the already more formal parts, it wouldn't start :-)

The records presented here include some made from outside the fence, when I was there along the sea wall yesterday.

There wasn't anything outstanding, but there was a good array of species typical of the area, and a few that are less common. But in any case some of these plants are quite showy, and several are good nectar sources for insects. It will be quite possible to mow some areas whilst leaving the margins to grow longer.

Species present in the accessible western end of the site - the part under restoration - included :-

Knotted Hedge Parsley
Germander Speedwell
Several Field Madder in the roadway gutter
Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)
3 x Opium Poppy
White Campion
Several Beaked Hawksbeard
Geranium rotundifolium
1 x Geranium pyrenaicum
6 x Shining Crane's-bill (Geranium lucidum) together in cracks in concrete at east end of site (complementing that found further along the sea wall path yesterday), and more round the back around the formal garden
1 x Henbit Deadnettle
White Stonecrop (Sedum album)
1 x Dwarf Mallow
Goat’s Rue (French Lilac)
Hart's-tongue Fern
Several Maidenhair Spleenwort in wall by a downpipe - though this looks to have been repaired, shutting off the source of dampness for the fern

In the large, open, water 'tank' were Flag Iris in flower, 2 kinds of Sedge, Reedmace sp. and
Cyperus alternifoliusUmbrella Papyrus, an exotic houseplant – alive despite the harsh winter!

Species in the eastern section of the 'old' Crossness site, fenced off from rest, and not currently under restoration, included :-

Dogwood by fence NE corner x 1
Giant Hogweed (non-native, needs eradicating before it spreads) x 1
Narrow-leaved Ragwort (non-native)
Ox Eye Daisy
Oxford Ragwort
Black Knapweed
x 1
Ribwort Plantain
Bird’s-foot Trefoil
Bulbous Buttercup
Common Vetch
Common Mallow

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