Earlier this summer I returned to Tollesbury for the wedding of two old friends- it was a magical weekend, seeing people I’d long lost touch with and walking again through the marshes. For any who are interested in botany, birding, naturalism generally or indeed just like long walks, I can’t recommend Tollesbury Wick highly enough- just check out these satellite images. The marshes are fascinating at any time of year and when I lived here, I’d happily spend an afternoon watching the subtle changes in colour (and temperature) and the rise and fall of the tide. Happily, the wedding coincided with the flowering of perhaps my favourite marsh plant, Common Sea-Lavender.
Common Sea-Lavender is from the thrift family and an interesting plant- it’s highly variable, generally preferring the middle-level of the salt marsh, growing taller and with larger trusses of flowers on the drier reaches. I didn’t see any of the species commonly associated with it (Limonium bellidifolium or L. binervosum) but that may be because of the late night and keen start the next morning after… In any case, there are thirty or so species and sub-species of fairly similar and highly local sea lavenders, so I may well have inadvertently walked straight past interesting variants.
It’s a truly beautiful plant at every scale that you can see it: flowering in mirages across the wide open marshes and under the huge skies, or right up close with a macro lens on the camera.
On my return, I looked Limonium up in some plant reference books and saw this great photo in Eva Crackles’s Flora of the East Riding of Common Sea-Lavender at Welwick Salt Marsh which captures the sense of standing in marsh in high summer much better than I ever could.