Habitat restoration at Quarrington Quarry, April 2019

It’s back to old clothes and porridge now, as my Mum would say, but no complaints about what that means botanically.  I just had time before the end of April, on our return from China, to sneak up to Quarrington hill and have a look to see what’s growing on the restored land now.  Everything has come on in leaps and bounds over the last few weeks, helped on by some very warm weather over Easter.  The topsoil is now covered in vegetation, some in flower – mostly the same brassica I’ve noted before, which now reveals itself to be Charlock, also called Field or Wild mustard.

Charlock, Sinapis arvensis

There are plenty of rosettes growing amongst the Charlock and a little Shepherd’s purse and Groundsel in flower but the biggest surprise is swathes of Common fumitory, Fumaria officinalis.  Like the Charlock, this is not something I saw growing in this area last year in any quantity. Rose (The Wildflower Key) says that F. officinalis is relatively rare in the north of England so I’d be interested to know where the topsoil used in restoration came from.

Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) and Common fumitory (Fumaria officinalis)

The undisturbed ground has more species in flower and plenty of evidence of diversity amongst plants yet to flower.  There are plenty of Cowslips, Wild strawberries and Spring sedge out now, the latter sending out clouds of pollen whenever I touch them.

Left to right: Fragaria vesca, Primula veris and Carex caryophyllea

Looking at what is now in bud makes me excited to see what will be here next month!

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