Familiar plants in different places

A recent vacation to the Yorkshire Dales found me 80 meters above Malham Cove, having climbed 416 steps to reach a Limestone Pavement and then later, to Malham Tarn the highest lake in England.

The Limestone Pavement was formed a very long time ago (12,000 years) from a melting glacier carried down the cliff-edge by a waterfall - i'm not going to pretend that I understand this process but I guess that limestone is a relatively soft material that can be eroded and weathered by chemicals found in water and ice.  A bit like when acid-rainwater damages brick-work on older buildings/places of worship.  

Calling this a pavement is slightly misleading, we discovered a challenging walk across the space almost losing a foot and a shoe...(not me I hasten to add:)) Think crazy-paving with deep narrow crevices in-between each stone in place of the mortar.  The fact that it's relatively flat and of the same colour/material is probably it's only similarity to a pavement.  

Whilst the views are spectacular, I found myself looking down at my feet admiring familiar plants.  The Geranium robertanium self-seeding everywhere like it does in my own garden along with the Urtica dioica (Stinging nettles).

The ability of botanical-life to adapt to its surroundings amazes me.  The helpful RHS plant-finder tool regularly gets my use to find the right plant for the correct location. Here, Asplenium scolopendrium (Hart's tongue Fern) and Dryopteris submontana (Rigid Buckler Fern) effortlessly grow in a hostile and exposed location.  The Hart's-tongue Fern seemingly not needing the helping hand of a kind gardener to remove its fronds when dead or damaged and doing just fine, naturally.  

Also, Gymnocarpium robertianum (Limestone Fern) that I have since researched and learnt about its existence, grow here unique to areas like these with their barren and exposed characteristics. The Cirsium vulgare (Thistle) below a reminder of more ornamental iterations now in-vogue in the domestic garden.  

Further up on the Pennine Way towards the Tarn via the Dry Valley, this Scabious and wild Thyme caught my attention.

A lovely half-day enjoying the fresh air and forgetting all about the pressures of life in a big city.


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