Most of the events took place during the week but I did manage to nip over to Durlston County Park last Sunday to join Ted Pratt and eight other eager customers for an afternoon walk across a fantastic stretch of chalk grassland on the tip of the Purbeck peninsula.
Ted is a household name in the world of Dorset botany. He's authored several books on the county's flora and his knowledge of plants appeared on the day to be limitless. Recovering from a back operation meant he spent the first uphill section of the walk on a mobility scooter but that didn't stop him telling apart Lesser Trefoil and Black Medick from several metres away before going on to identify every grass in the vicinity without breaking a sweat. Once he was off the scooter and on flat ground we were shown how to tackle some of the trickier groups we're likely to encounter (buttercups, thistles, umbellifers and orchids etc) before hunting down a few of the local crowd-pleasers.
The 'oaty' inflorescence and hairy stem of Downy Oat-grass