Michelham Priory

Field meeting reports
Picture of Galeopsis tetrahit (Common Hemp-nettle)
Galeopsis tetrahit (Common Hemp-nettle). Photo: Brad Scott

Meeting date: 19 July 2017

(Leader: Helen Proctor)

Ten members met in the car park where the head gardener, James Neal, gave a brief introduction to the grounds. Parts of the ground are now in Higher Level Stewardship and there is an increased interest in gaining more knowledge of all aspects of the natural environment.

We walked along the strip of semi-natural ancient woodland outside the moat where we recorded Poa nemorosa (Wood Meadow-grass) and Lamiastrum galeobdolon ssp. montanum (Yellow Archangel). We spent the rest of the morning exploring areas within the moat. The margins of the moat hosted many native plants including Bidens cernua (Nodding Bur Marigold) and Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife).  However, Impatiens glandulifera (Himalayan Balsam and I. capensis (Orange Balsam) are also rampant in some areas. Despite earlier dredging, two aquatic plants were recorded. These were Potamogeton obtusifolius (Blunt-leaved Pondweed) and Ceratophyllum demersum (Rigid Hornwort).  Menyanthes trifoliata (Bogbean) is established in a small pond.

Picture of Persicaria lapathifolia (Pale Persicaria)
Persicaria lapathifolia (Pale Persicaria). Photo: Brad Scott

Several planted meadows have native species well-established.  The flower and shrub beds also host many native species and archeophytes although some are less welcome to the volunteer gardeners who struggle to eradicate surplus Aegopodium podagraria (Ground-elder)!  Erigeron karvinskianus (Mexican Fleabane) is present on the walls of the Priory.  One plant of Malva neglecta (Dwarf Mallow) is long-lived, sharing a space with the roots of a grape vine. Polypodium interjectum (Intermediate Polypody) was found near the Priory, later confirmed by Mike Shaw.

After lunch, we explored the fields outside the moat but little of interest was added. A total of 224 species were recorded in two tetrads, TQ50P and U.