When I came to Lulworth I had in the back of my mind a bit of a personal ambition to become more familiar with flowering plants. Over the past year they've really begun to catch my interest, but apart from a basic knowledge of the common stuff that I've slowly gained through leaf-mining, kingdom Plantae remains a big and scary new world of tricky green things.
It certainly seems as though I've come to the right place. Only two weeks into the job and I've already seen over 50 species for the first time, across a range of habitats I've never knowingly botanised in before. Admittedly in most cases the hard work of identifying has been done by someone else during our survey work and I've simply strolled up and asked what it is, but I'm slowly teaching myself to become familiar with some of the chalk-loving species that inhabit my temporary back garden.
Last Wednesday I even rushed over to Dancing Ledge after work to twitch one of Dorset's rarest species, the stunning Early Spider Orchid. If the fact that I'm ready to get in my car and drive miles to twitch a plant doesn't show my outright dedication to learn more about them, then... erm... I don't know what does.
Early Spider Orchid, a spring-flowering species very much at the northern edge of its European range along the cliffs of the Jurassic coast