If, at the end of December you saw a strange woman in a red hat scrambling up banks or peering into sheltered places at the bottoms of walls, that was probably me, writes Wendy Tagg
I was doing the Botanical Society’s New Year Plant Hunt. The aim is to find out which wild and naturalised plants are flowering at the turn of the year. This year I found 45 plant species in bloom, which is a third more than my previous best of 34 (2016).
Many of flowers that I found were summer flowers, such as the Oxeye Daisy that I found near the fire station, which seemed to be ignoring the onset of winter.
There were also spring flowers such as a sprinkling of Hawthorn blossom and a Hazel bush, whose catkins had lengthened and were yellow with pollen.
There were some colourful garden escapees too such as the Yellow Corydalis on the Churchyard Wall. So keep looking out for flowers, you will be surprised by what there is to find.
Like early flowers, leaf buds promise that spring is on its way. The photo shows the black buds of Ash in the West Park Nature Reserve. How about spending some time looking at the different types of bud and bark? The Woodland Trust’s guide to twigs is handy if you want to identify which trees they belong to.
Woodland Trust Guide to Twigs: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/naturedetectives/activities/2015/09/twig-id/
My blog post about the New Year Flower Hunt. https://uckfieldwildlife.blogspot.com/2018/12/new-year-plant-hunt-2019-uckfield.html