Hiking amongst UK native plants in the snow!

What a lovely day today was, although bitter cold and snowing! But I wanted to make the most of it as it was probably one of my last really relaxing days – if strenuous, for a couple of weeks.

The sun didn’t shine, the sky was heavy, a cold damp breeze was blowing and the sky started releasing its load in the form of snow as soon as we started walking. The weather forecast had said ‘cloudy’, but dry! Luckily we chose not to do any of our hikes up on the South Downs Way. Where we were the snow didn’t settle, but the South Downs were obliterated.

The phrase ‘There is no such think as bad weather, just bad clothes’ has been attributed to many people including Alfred Wainwright. But Norwegians are actually brought up with this phrase as small children – with their skis of course! Robin and I were well and truly appropriately dressed from our wool long-johns and base layers, to the additional wool layers on top. ‘Snug as a bug in a rug’ is also a good phrase, but our layers allowed us good movement.

Dressed to kill - the cold!
Dressed to kill – the cold!

We started out at Elsted Marsh and did a 12 km circular walk taking in the Iping and Stedham Commons. What a super walk!

We saw drifts of Snowdrops – Galanthus. Do you realise that they are a native species? This is important to know if you are a botanical artist and over the next couple of weeks you will read about other plants available at the moment that are native to the UK.

Watch this space!

Back to the Iping and Stedham Commons; they are well managed and they try to keep on top of the amount of Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) that grows there so that it doesn’t take over from the heathers (Erica) and the Gorse (Ulex europaeus). All of these plants are native to the UK. We also saw two Dartford Warblers.




2 thoughts on “Hiking amongst UK native plants in the snow!

  1. The idea of what is ‘native’ is problematic. I live in Ontario Canada, and native is described usually as a plant pre-contact. Europe however is a different kettle of fish–civilised, ploughed and planted for thousands of years…so there are some species that have been naturalised for so long that they are considered ‘native’. Botanists would say that it was northern and boreal and that it has been naturalised into the UK. I love native plants and am so happy that botanical artists are taking on this as a project–but it really is trickier than some imagine. Just wanted to give you a heads up. regards, Linda

    1. Hei Linda, thank you for your comment. I too think it hugely difficult determining what is a native plant and that is why we are very dependent upon having a definition to set our boundaries in this puzzle. But we are all so used to importing different plants and as you say so many have become naturalised, that we are losing the knowledge and appreciation of what belongs.

      Personally, when I look back over all the plants I have painted, few actually are native to the UK. But because of this worldwide exhibition we are working towards for May 2018, it has helped to open my own eyes to the beauty of the plants that really belong. Many of them we unsurprisingly share with Northern Europe. We were once part of the same land mass.

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