Thursday, 12 April 2007


Booked into a campsite in Folkestone and booked our ferry to Calais from Dover. The campsite was on the white cliffs this area is famous for and there were lots of walks in the wilderness bit near the campsite down the cliffs to the sea. Great for dog-walking!

Views from near campsite …called Little Switzerland!!

The wooded area seemed rather primeval with the vines, moss and ferns!!

Plants and flowers we saw here were…

Lords and ladies Arum maculatum not quite out yet. Some of this plant’s other names are Cuckoo pint, parson in the pulpit, wake robin and priest’s pintle… some of these refer to the flower’s sexually evocative, phallic shape! Its seeds apparently make hens drunk and the root was pounded to make a flour like sago and was also used to starch the fine, light Elizabethan lace ruffs.

Stinking Iris Iris foetidissima these are the bright orangey-red seed heads of the purpley-brown flowers which grow in chalky scrubby areas in South England and Wales only. Also known as ‘bloody-bones’ or ‘stinking Gladwen’ and only eaten by the very hungry as it truly stinks!!

This lovely sun-dappled primrose bank…

And the Hartstongue fern Phyllitis scolopendrium here you can see the rows of dark brown spore cases on the undersides.

Fernseed or spore has long been thought to have magical properties…

‘We have the receipt of Fern-seede – we walke invisible’ (Henry IV, act ii, scene i) Shakespeare referred to the most celebrated outcome of carrying fernseed. On the eve of Saint John at midnight, the spore was collected on a pewter dish and must fall unbidden – no shaking or knocking the fern allowed - and it was not to be touched by human hand.

Tutsan Hypericum androsaemum, from the French ‘toute-saine’ – all-heal. This plant has a medical reputation for healing and was also used as a ‘bible or book leaf’for scenting and keeping the page in a book or bible and warding off bugs.

These vines and twisted trunks of a clematis probably Old man’s beard Clematis vitalba that can grow up to 20 metres and common on scrubby chalkland and famous for its fluffy seed heads.

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