The Botanists are here

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Botanists in the rambla

The professors and students from Kew Gardens, London, are here in Las Negras at the moment enjoying their annual field trip. This is the 27th consecutive year the group has come here in the spring to study the flora.

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Studying flora in the rambla

On their first day, last Friday, they walked from Las Negras to Las Hortichuelas via the rambla that passes below our house.

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Caralluma Europaea

Here, the students were able to see rarities such as a pink dianthus, exclusive to the Cabo de Gata, and Caralluma europaea, the latter somewhat shrivelled because of the drought. There is also an attractive white daisy, which is uncommon, found here.

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Rambla Aires de Las Negras

In 1988, Professor Jim Ross from the Department of Botany at the University of Reading, was on holiday in Las Negras. We took him on this walk and he was so impressed with the flora that he decided to bring his students here the following year for their annual field trip which we organized for them. The department of Botany at Reading University closed a few years ago when the professors, Jim Ross and Stephen Jury, retired but the group from Kew Gardens, who joined the Reading group in the early years, continue to come here.

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On the cliff path

On Saturday and Monday the group visited Sorbas and Las Filabres but we caught up with them again yesterday when they walked the cliff path from Las Negras to El Playazo. This route is rich in flora, especially maritime species, and there was much to study.

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On the cliffs

I showed the professors photos of the yellow-wort found in Rambla de Las Negras on Sunday (see previous blog) and was pleased when they confirmed that the flower has not been recorded here before.

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Convolvulus

The students were excited to find an example of a pretty convolvulus which is not uncommon in the Cabo de Gata but, because of the dry winter, is scarce this spring.

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El Playazo

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Beach below the castle

El Playazo and the small beach below the castle looked beautiful yesterday in the dazzling spring sunshine. Here are some photos.

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About Margaret Merry

I grew up in Falmouth, Cornwall, England where, after leaving Falmouth High School, I spent a year at Falmouth School of Art. Then followed three years at Hornsey College of Art in London where I obtained a Diploma in Art and Design. I then spent a post-graduate year at the West of England College of Art in Bristol where I gained an Art Teacher?s Diploma and a Certificate in Education of the University of Bristol. I lived and worked in Truro for over 30 years and became one of Cornwall's most popular artists. My paintings have been exhibited in New York, Tokyo, Paris and London and have been bought by collectors from all over the world. I have published 4 books which became local bestsellers - 'The Natural History of a Westcountry City', 'Margaret Merry's Cornish Garden Sketchbook', 'Sea & Sail' and 'Tidal Reaches'. In 2002 I moved to Spain and now live in the little coastal village of Las Negras in the heart of the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata. I now get my inspiration from the dramatic scenery of Andalucia and its old cities, towns and villages which I usually capture in watercolour. I also enjoy figurative art, particularly nudes and dancers. For these paintings I use artists' soft pastels. I have written and illustrated 3 children's books - The Wise Old Boar, The Lonely Digger and The Adventure of Princess The Pony - which have been published in the USA.
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