We started by looking at how plants can grow as really small versions of themselves if they are amongst grass which is mown regularly. Lady’s Bedstraw, Common Restharrow, Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil, Ribwort Plantain, Bulbous buttercup and Salad Burnet were all noted in the undulating closely-mown land by the roadside. Wild Thyme was in flower and Lesser Hawkbit with its grey backs to the outer florets also seen here.
Into the adjacent un-mown grass that was recently disturbed in order to lay a new sewage drain, although you wouldn’t know it from looking at it now, and lines of Wall Barley could be seen on path edges. The purple flowers of Common Mallow stood out against the grasses as did the large dock-like leaves of Horse-radish.
By the entrance to the children’s paddling pool there were the final flowers from a clump of Geranium x magnificum a bright-blue flowered garden plant and then near the sea wall the white and pink forms of Common Stork’s-bill, a white flowered Musk-mallow and the scattered flower heads of Wild Onion. A couple tiny grasses here too; Fern-grass and Sea Fern-grass.
Growing on the nearby sea-shore, Sea Rocket was just starting to flower and alongside it were Frosted Orache, Sand Couch and a tiny patch of Sea Sandwort growing in the crevices of the blocks of the new sea defences – it won’t be long before other plants soften the concrete edges.
Out up onto the top of the dunes to enjoy the almondy scent of a large patch of flowering Hogweed plants and then down behind the dune to see scattered White Campion and a couple of plants of the locally scarce Wild Clary still with a few deep-blue flowers. Hemlock (yes that Hemlock) was growing at the edge of a long hedge of the Duke-of-Argyll’s Teaplant, an alien plant that can tolerate the sea spray and so was used by residents of the area as long ago as 1850 to make hedges – now more commonly known as Goji berry one of the new ‘super-foods’. Adjacent to the hedge grows Bur Chervil in one of its few sites in north Yorkshire – the burrs are on the seeds.
On towards the car park near Marske where on the Redcar side the council have stopped cutting the grass and a couple of Bee Orchids were seen growing near a large patch of flowering Purple Milk-vetch. And so we returned back towards our parked cars not even having covered a whole mile in the last two and a half hours because someone kept stopping and pointing out plants.