Wildflowers in North Cornwall: Botanising Jaunts

Unfamiliar with golf courses as I am, it never really occurred to me that they could be home to such extraordinary wildflower diversity. Serene botanising not quite on the minds of the three wheezing nutter labradors that hauled me gracelessly across Trevose golf course in North Cornwall; the result of my superbly defective plan for a gentle scenic stroll along with two keen golfers. Limited to ground level observation by ominously short dog leads, the course revealed a stunning array of wildflowers, including the delightful Pyramidal orchid. This particular orchid, thrives on calcareous soils and stabilised sand dunes, so probably a common sight on most Links golf courses. Though I presume, even with the presence of such beauties, golfers would still prefer to steer clear of the rough.

Not really keen on the concept of adorning a wetsuit to enjoy the sea, much of our time was spent wandering around the breathtakingly untamed coastline, such as around Park Head. With views of the striking Bedruthan steps, the circular walk across the Park Head cliff tops, down to beautiful slate beach and through National Trust protected grassland and fields, is a wildflower delight. The Cornish countryside is rather special, in that around the cliffs the plants are very much what one would expect from a seaside habitat, but venture just a little way inland and the plants change completely, many of which even thrive in our Oxfordshire countryside.

Ecological Suitability

Probably somewhat conditioned by images of pictorial meadows with high flower density to grasses, natural meadows are rather more delicate, with seemingly mosaic scatterings of flowers.

Wildflower medley on Park Head
Red Campion (Silene Dioica)
Park Head cliff top
Spear Thistle (Cirsium Vulgare)
Bell Heather (Erica Cinerea)
Field Scabious (Knautia Arvensis)
Thrift (Armeria Maritima)
Betony (Stachys Officinalis)
Hemp-agrimony (Eupatorium Cannabinum)
Hemp-agrimony and lovely Red Campion
Globe Thistle and Purple Loosestrife
Keen botanist Dr-drools-in-awe, Dudley
Meadow Vetchling (Lathyrus Pratensis)
Wild Thyme (Thymus Polytrichus)
Lady's Bedstraw (Gallium Verum)
Wild carrot (Daucus carota)
Traditional Cornish Herringbone stone wall, North Cornwall
Hedge Bedstraw (Galium Album)
Sea of umbellifrae and Red Campion
Wood Sage and Bladder Campion (Silene Vulgaris)
White Clover (Trifolium Repens)
Common Fumitory (Fumaria Officinalis)
Slate beach Park Head
Wild Angelica (Angelica Sylvestris) growing amongst Hemp-agrimony
Wild Angelica (Angelica Sylvestris)
Great Willowherb (Epilobium Hirsutum)
Purple-loosestrife (Lythrum Salicaria)
Red Clover (Trifolium Pratense)
Viper's-bugloss (Echium Vulgare) & Weld (Reseda Luteola)
Marsh Woundwort (Stachys Palustris)
Meadowsweet (Filipendula Ulmaria)
Yellow Iris (Iris Pseudacorus)
Greater Knapweed (Centaurea Scabiosa)
Pyramidal Orchids growing on Trevose Golf Course
Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis Pyramidalis)
Well deserved break and crucial drool rinse

Most fascinating is to see which plants naturally grow well together. Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury wrote in their book entitled, ‘Designing with Plants’, ‘A pragmatic approach to plant selection stresses a mixture of plants from a gradient of ecological suitability’. Selecting plants that grow in similar natural habitats, amongst naturally ‘selected’ neighbours and hence without the subsequent need for extensive soil modification, seems a rather sound strategy, as opposed to simply down to their esthetic beauty. I suspect though, that some level of (stubborn) experimentation will always be on the cards in our garden, but I will certainly look out for more natural pairings in future. Especially as many of the observed wildflowers already thrive in our herbaceous borders, such as (a.o.) Wood Sage, Red Campion, Lythrum Salicara, and Eupatorium.

North Cornwall’s botanical bounty seems to have no end, its stunning coastline, superb walks, remarkable gardens and burgeoning hedgerows are highly recommended for any plant enthusiast.

If heading to Trevose golf course, best leave the dogs at home…

Raising the bar: Challenging Conventional Colour RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2012: Taste of the unexpected

any comments?

Comments: 17

  1. RT @Petra_HM: Wildflowers in North Cornwall: Botanising Jaunts http://t.co/RgBFFOyy #wildflowers #cornwall #gardengrab @gardengrab

  2. RT @Petra_HM: Wildflowers in North Cornwall: Botanising Jaunts http://t.co/RgBFFOyy #wildflowers #cornwall #gardengrab @gardengrab

  3. Wildflowers in North Cornwall: Botanising Jaunts http://t.co/frhSXCRu #cornwall

  4. Petra,
    Oh I’m drooling at the sound of it all. Cornwall has a special place in my heart. My dad’s family are from there, a true old Cornish family and I spent many a childhood holiday there. We try to get down at least once a year. It really is a paradise for plant lovers.

    • How lovely! It is such a lovely place. It is actually quite rare to see a natural coastline, which I so admire. Coasts I know so well in Europe, generally tend to be built up to the coast, which has its own charm, but nothing quite like this rugged, natural coastline.

  5. RT @Petra_HM: Wildflowers in North Cornwall: Botanising Jaunts http://t.co/Ej6QNL28 #cornwall #wildflowers

  6. RT @Petra_HM: Wildflowers in North Cornwall: Botanising Jaunts http://t.co/Ej6QNL28 #cornwall #wildflowers

  7. Hi Petra, I’ve been spending time on the South Downs by the sea, similarly enjoying the wild flowers. Because of the wet the show is going on much longer this year. And I generally leave the (very old) dog behind these days. She has a tendency to stand on the little jewel I’m studying. Or sit on it. Dave

  8. RT @Petra_HM: Wildflowers in North Cornwall: Botanising Jaunts http://t.co/Ej6QNL28 #cornwall #wildflowers

  9. #Wildflowers in North #Cornwall: Botanising Jaunts http://t.co/JnL7gLBt
    #Flowers #plants #botany #nature #environment

  10. RT @Petra_HM: Wildflowers in North Cornwall: Botanising Jaunts http://t.co/Ej6QNL28 #cornwall #wildflowers

  11. RT @Petra_HM: New Post: Wildflowers in North Cornwall: Botanising Jaunts http://t.co/Ej6QNL28

  12. RT @Petra_HM: New Post: Wildflowers in North Cornwall: Botanising Jaunts http://t.co/Ej6QNL28

  13. RT @Petra_HM: Wildflowers in North Cornwall: Botanising Jaunts http://t.co/Ej6QNL28 #cornwall #wildflowers

  14. RT @Petra_HM: New Post: Wildflowers in North Cornwall: Botanising Jaunts http://t.co/Ej6QNL28

  15. What gorgeous photos. I am enjoying your piece while sitting in my own “wild” garden . So lovely to be outside after weeks of rain. Thanks Petra x

    • Thank you Karen. Very kind! Really enjoyed being outside, wandering around the countryside enjoying the striking views and delightful wildflowers. Glad to say that I have quite a few of the wildflowers in the borders, but will certainly be adding more! Would love it to be a tad more ‘wild’ as you say yours is!