A Year on the Commons
A study of the chalk flowers growing on the Coulsdon Commons.
Over the course of a year, I studied six species growing on the Coulsdon Commons:
- Cowslip; Primula veris
- Man orchid; Orchis anthropophora
- Greater yellow-rattle; Rhianthus major
- Common spotted-orchid; Dactylorhiza fuscii
- Small scabious; Scabiosa columbaria
- Stinking hellebore; Helleborius foetidus
The botanical plates are available for purchase as cards individually or as a pack of all 6 designs.
Bringing up a family in Coulsdon, a suburb of Greater London located on the edge of the North Downs, the local green areas have become a big part of our life. Having noticed the diversity of species growing in the area, I wanted to learn more about the chalk habitat, and about the species growing locally.
Coulsdon Commons is a set of four commons local to Coulsdon – Riddlesdown, Coulsdon Common, Kenley Common and Farthing Downs and these areas are managed by the City of London Corporation. My diploma project developed into a collaboration with the Open Spaces and Heritage Department, City of London Corporation.
Through research in the early stages of the project, it became clear that conserving this habitat and also re-establishing areas of lost chalk grassland is extremely important: more than 80% of the UK’s chalk grassland has been lost since WW2, mainly due to agriculture and development. Chalk grasslands are referred to as ‘Europe’s rainforest’ due to the density of species that can be found. Of particular interest are the variety of orchid species growing in this habitat.
I was keen to raise awareness of this diverse habitat which is on the doorstep of thousands of suburban dwellers; the paintings in this series illustrate some of the key species that are found on the Commons across the timeframe of a year. The aim is to help members of the public identify the plants and also see interesting features of the plants through enlargements and dissections.
Throughout the project, I received support from the local City Commons team, in particular with locating some of the rarer species within the study. The final illustrations have been made available to City Commons who plan to use these on information boards.
The plates are available as cards designs. Please contact me if interested in purchasing – click on the thumbnails below for details such as pricing.