Some plants to look out for this mid-May
After such a very dry Spring season this year, many plants that grow on the thin, sandy soils around Sandwich Bay Estate appear to small and more stunted than usual. This is especially true along the beach and foreshore where growing conditions are particularly harsh.
Along the top of the beach, look out for the spreading low growths of Seaside Daisy. This is a good example of a non-native plant that has ‘escaped’ from a garden somewhere and which is now naturalising itself. ‘Naturalising’ refers to a plant which, although not native to this country, is able to grow and prosper without any further human intervention. Also in the same category and occupying the same part of the beach, are large clumps of Silver Ragwort, which is a bit of a menace as it is spreading and crowding out other more interesting flora.
Fennel and Sea Beet (the wild ancestor of many cultivated beet crops such as Beetroot) are also common along the upper shoreline, while lower down the beach, growing out of the shingle, are many clumps of Sea Kale. The leaves of this plant are edible when they are very young, especially if they are covered by a bucket and grown in the dark as they first emerge, while the flower buds taste exactly like Purple-flowering Broccoli.
Further north along Princes Beach, look out for areas where the attractive Rosy Garlic grows.
Definitely not edible, but still of interest around the Estate, Hounds Tongue is now coming into flower. It gets its name from the furry texture of the leaves and can be found growing near the Gullies and also along the path to the Restharrow Scrape hide. Not far from here, by Mary Bax’s Stone, there is very nice display of Tamarisk in full flower at the time of writing.