A botanist’s life involves funny looks. Few share our excitement over plants. We get used to getting funny looks from both humans and four-legged creatures, as we scramble about and emerge dishevelled from hedges backwards. Only botanists follow the goat track, wade through streams, stay out in the pouring rain and failing light.
Roaming the Mendips
This year, I have enjoyed botanising in my childhood haunts. I was well-known as a child for wandering the Mendip Hills and Somerset Levels in search of wild flowers. A family friend was once all set to call for a search party. (We were staying with them locally between house moves). My nonchalant family responded that I would turn up. And I did.
I know other botanists share such experiences. I have put together a couple of this year’s eureka moments and funny looks. I get even funnier looks from animals than people. I am always careful to keep my distance so as not to scare them. Cattle are usually the most inquisitive. The alpacas or llamas were the funniest. I felt as if I had done a detour via South America while botanising in Draycott, Somerset.
Are you okay?
Back in the spring, I was laying diagonally on the sloping grass verge of a country lane, when a car pulled up alongside me. The window wound down. Was I okay? Yes, of course I was. I had just found my first violets of the spring. Perfectly normal botanical behaviour.
I scrambled up the scree on the cliff edge at Cheddar Gorge, Somerset. Some bemused and amused Chinese tourists waved down at me from the top.
Eureka, I found it!
I was always warned to stay away from Cheddar Gorge’s cliff edges as a child. It was only this year that I finally discovered the Cheddar Pink, Dianthus gratianopolitanus, in flower. It was a Eureka moment for me. Sometimes the best finds are not showy and exotic. Unfortunately, there was no botanist nearby to appreciate the experience. It was so special to discover for myself. I lay flat on the windy edge taking pictures of the flower and view. I had to be careful that I didn’t draw tourists’ attention to the location of this rare, endemic plant. I am sure fellow botanists can imagine how hard it is to keep quiet after a 40+year wait?
Karen does not seek or receive any commercial interest or advantage from this blog. She is not promoting any business venture. She simply loves to share fascinating facts about plants. These pages illustrate her love of plants, botany, biodiversity, gardens and creative expression. There is always so much to learn about plant diversity. This blog is designed as a showcase for photography, commentary on plants and wildlife, gardens and other places visited, horticulture and related topics. Viewpoints are her own, not those of her employer.
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