29th March 2021 – it’s a big day today!

This housing estate in south London is my favourite for plant-hunting. Not too tidy or gardened, but not too quiet or edgy either. There’s clearly need here – with a busy and efficient foodbank run from the community centre – but I feel relatively safe kneeling or lying on the pavement taking photographs of plants. It’s fair to say I’m a little more conscious of being a solo woman walking in the city after the events of this last month but I’m convinced we need more women in city spaces not fewer.

I find this little beauty – Jersey Cudweed (Gnaphalium luteoalbum) – growing out of a low wall. Twenty years ago this was considered very rare in Britain, with only two known populations in north Norfolk and Dungeness in Kent – when it suddenly popped up in Tower Hamlets. Now it’s spreading across London and Essex. I found one in flower on the Southwark Thames path on new year’s day.

It’s a big day today – well what constitutes big from my locked-down perspective. It will mark the date of my first official plant record – this Jersey Cudweed – to the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland’s Middlesex recorder, Mark Spencer, who also happens to be my botany mentor.

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