Millenium Seed Bank
This year, the Cornwall Wildlife Trust has taken part in the collection of wildflower seed for Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank. A new building is being funded by grant aid to house samples of seed from all the flowering plants of the world. The Trust has been involved in collecting seed of British native species. We chose 14 different plants which we hoped to collect from, including southern marsh orchid, heath-spotted orchid, purple loosestrife, devil’s-bit scabious, scarlet pimpernel, parsley piert, tree mallow, common dog violet and cut-leaved cranesbill - and we managed to collect nine species.
Terry Geater and I have learned a great deal from our involvement in the project. Record keeping was important and we had to obtain permission from the owners on whose land the plants were growing, as well as contacting English Nature to check that they were happy for us to collect from specific SSSIs. It was important to ensure that our seed collection would not affect the population of the plant in the area, and that the seed was collected from a good sample of ripe seed. Catching the seed at just the right stage was a challenge, but finding the plants for a second time was equally challenging. I spent quite some time relocating southern marsh orchid, as it seemed to disappear amongst a large quantity of fleabane and water mint.
Plant Nursery Manager Lorna Crewes gathering seeds for the Millenium Seed Bank. Photo: Tony Geater
While we were out collecting seed, we saw so many other lovely wild flowers which, together with the summer sunshine, enhanced our views of the Cornish countryside.
We would like more people to get involved in the collection of wildflower seed for our nursery at Bosilliac. If you are interested, please contact me at Bosilliac on (01326) 250922 so I can organise collections for next summer (May onwards).
Plant a tree before it's too late in '98 - call Sylvia and Frank Gartside for details. Illustration: Sarah McCartney
Help create a new wood
We will have 400 trees to plant in Rosudgeon between mid-February and early March 1998 (exact date unknown at time of going to press).
If you would like to be part of this project and help us plant some trees, can you please telephone (01736) 710477 in early February.
Sylvia & Frank Gartside
Grey squirrel - not everyone's favourite, and not a native species, but charming nevertheless. This regular visitor answers to the name Sally, and we are grateful to members Jill and John Bennett for sending us photographs of her which werer taken in their garden. Photo: John Bennett