John Vetterlein’s walks -July & August
On Sunday afternoon my good friend, John Vetterlein, aka ‘The Hat’ led his first ‘Wildflower and Butterfly’ walk around the Old Cemetery since Sept 2019 for fifteen visitors. The weather was quite overcast, and we were expecting rain but luckily it stayed dry. As always John had a massive amount of Flora to show us but suspected we might not see any Butterflies. Near the main entrance he showed us Oxeye Daisies, Hogweed, and several other flowers. On the way to the Main Carriageway, we passed Broad-leaved Everlasting Sweet Peas and, on the Carriageway, some Creeping Thistle and further on drifts of Rosebay. We then made our way to the meadow side of the Cemetery and as usual John found something edible in the form of Crow Onions and everyone agreed, they were very tasty. As luck would have it we then spotted some Marble White Butterflies and a Ringlet that obligingly posed for me on some Ivy. Amongst numerous other flowers John showed us a four-petal hybrid Cinquefoil and a very pretty flower called Betony and pointed out some of the ant hills that contain thousands of Yellow Meadow Ants. One of our visitors had kept a count of all the flowers we had seen, and they totalled a staggering forty-three and her daughter had a lovely bouquet to take home. The walk had lasted for about an hour and three quarters and at the end John received a well-deserved round of applause and some very generous donations that will be split between the Southampton Natural History Society and FoSOC. Well done JV and thank you once again for a delightfully entertaining and most informative Sunday afternoon stroll and we are now all looking forward to your next one on 1st August.
This afternoon my good friend, John Vetterlein, aka ‘The Hat’ led his second and last ‘Wildflower and Butterfly’ walk around the Old Cemetery for this year for eleven visitors that increased partway through to thirteen when another couple joined with two very well-behaved dogs. The weather was quite overcast, and we were expecting rain and sure enough as the walk started so did the rain! However, luckily it only lasted for about five minutes! As always John had a massive amount of Flora to show us but suspected we might not see any Butterflies. Near the main entrance he showed us Green Alkanet, Hedge Woundwort, and several other wildflowers. On the Main Carriageway we saw Ragwort, Knapweed, Yarrow, Elecampe, Fleabane and further up the Carriageway some Woody Nightshade. We then made our way across to the meadow side of the Cemetery and on the way passed some lovely Monbretia. John then showed us a lovely patch of Bell Heather that would normally be teeming with Gatekeepers but due to some bad ecological management seem to have moved on! On the Yew tree path, he showed us some Biting Stonecrop and as usual found something edible in the form of Crow Garlic and everyone agreed, they were very tasty. He then led us to another patch of Bell Heather and Ling and as luck would have it we then spotted a Ringlet and several Gatekeepers including one that obligingly posed for me on some nearby Ivy. Amongst numerous other flowers John also showed us a lovely cluster of Harebell’s and one eagle eyed visitor spotted a Robin’s Pin Cushion Gall growing on a Rose. The rain then started again but luckily it was only a very brief shower and further down the Yew tree path he showed us the beautiful Indian Bean Tree that luckily was still in flower. At the end of the walk one of our visitors was presented with all the cuttings that had been collected by John’s friend Kate who had travelled down from Uckfield especially for the occasion and had a lovely bouquet to take home. The walk had lasted for nearly two hours and John received some very generous donations that he will be donating to ‘Butterfly Conservation’. Well done JV and thank you once again for a delightfully entertaining and most informative Sunday afternoon stroll.
Photos and text by Bruce Larner