THE FLORA OF ROSEHILL FRANCIS SIMPSON
Mrs F. E. Rivis died on the 18th January, 1958, leaving Rosehill House and its grounds to the Suffolk Naturalists' Society 'for the general purposes of the Society and in particular for a place of quiet enjoyment and a sanctuary for wild life.' The property is at Farnham, nearSaxmundham, and is of nearly 16 acres. The house was built in 1819, and there is a small cottage adjoining it. The grounds were extended by purchase at various times, the last parcel of two acres, bought for ÂŁ30 in 1923, is a plantation of Holm Oak (Quercus ilex L.) grown from acorns sown in 1911. There is a wide variety of habitats: mixed plantations, a small paddock, a small sandy warren and a now-neglected and overgrown garden. Mrs Rivis introduced many herbs, trees and shrubs, several of which she brought back from her Visits to Portugal and North America. A number have survived, of which some have become naturalised and have increased considerably since my first visit in 1966. A survey of the flora was undertaken during 1985 and 262 species, including the garden introductions, were found. There follows a summary of the species of special interest in each of the four main habitats. Flower and former vegetable garden, herbaceous beds, lawn. Sowbread (Cyclamen hederifolium Ait.) - a very fine colony with many seedlings naturalised under Weeping Beech, some specimens with marbled foliage; Polypody Fern (Polypodium x mantoniae Rothm. cultivar cornubiense, with 'frilly' fronds); Common Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum multiflorum (L.) All.) - also in plantations; Butcher's Broom (Ruscus aculeatus L.) - large colony, also in plantation; Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana L.); Cape Lily (Crinum powellii Hort.); Chalk Plant (Gypsophilapaniculata L.); Spiked Speedwell (Veronica spicata L.) Garden 'cultivar' variety; Slender Speedwell (Veronica filiformis Sm.) - in front garden, spreading; Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris L.) - garden form; Blue Garden Geranium (Geranium X magnificum Hyl.). Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum L.) white-flowered variety; Caper Spurge (Euphorbia lathyrus L.). False Acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia L.); Fig (Ficus carica L.); Mulberry (Morus nigra L.); Japanese Bitter Orange (Poncirus trifoliata Raf.) - old hedge of this hardy, spiny shrub or small tree, which bears beautiful flowers followed by small, hard, bitter fruits. There are a few old climbing varieties of Roses supported by the unpruned fruit trees. Small Paddock. A wilderness of Common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea L.) attracting many butterflies. There is an ancient, large, Common Oak (Quercus robur L.) by the south-eastern boundary bank. Plantations. The mixed plantations are mainly from Victorian times (excluding the Holm Oaks) and occupy nearly 11 acres. There are both deciduous and
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THE FLORA OF ROSEHILL
coniferous trees and shrubs, and the ground fiora contains some interesting 'introductions'. Trees and shrubs include: Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo L.); Spindle Tree (Euonymus europaeus L.); Box (Buxus sempervirens L.); Filbert (Corylus maxima Mill.); Sessile Oak (Quercuspetraea (Mattuschka) Liebl.); White Poplar (Populus alba L.) - with large bunches of Mistletoe (Viscum album L.); Western Balsam Poplar (Populus gileadensis Rouleau); Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.); Norway Maple (Acer platanoides L.); Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (Lamb.) Endl.); Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata Don); Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra Arnold); Common Lime (Tilia cordata Mill. x T. platyphyllos Scop.); Rocky Mountain Bramble (Rubus deliciosus Torr.). On the southern boundary bank are four very old Oaks. Ground Flora: Asarabacca (Asarum europaeum L.); Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria majalis L.); Spanish Bluebell (Endymion hispanicus (Mill.) Chouard); Garden Bluebell (E. hispanicus X non-scriptus (L.) Garcke) - the Common Bluebell has not been recorded; Yellow Star of Bethlehem (Gagea lutea (L.) KerGawl.); Martagon Lily (Lilium martagon L.); Stinking Iris (Iris foetidissima L.); Primrose (Primula vulgaris Huds.); Wood Forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica Hoffm.); Hart's-tongue Fern (Phyllitisscolopendrium (L.) Newm.) - fine specimens in plantation near the house; Soft Shield Fern (Polystichum setiferum (Forsk.) Woynar); Broad Buckler Fern (Dryopteris dilatata (Hoffm.) A. Gray). There is practically no ground flora in the Holm Oak plantation. Open Area. About three acres on the eastern side sloping down to the railway. This sandy area and rabbit warren is slowly becoming overgrown by Brambles and Gorse. The grasses are kept short by the rabbits, which also keep some of the Gorse bushes small and rounded. Some Liverworts and Mosses can be found. Interest is centred mainly on two introduced species, now well naturalised. One is a yellow-flowered Rockrose (Tuberaria lignosa (Sweet) Samp.), a native of Portugal, Spain, Southern France and Italy, and the other is a shrub, Gum Cistus (Cistus ladanifer L.), a native of the same region. Both remain untouched by rabbits. Other plants in this area include Musk Mallow (Malva moschata L.) which has survived since my 1966 Visit, and a white-flowered Rose Campion (Lychnis coronaria (L.) Desr.) - a common garden plant, and on the damp brickwork of the house and cottage Polypody Ferns flourish, one colony of which has been identified as Intermediate Polypody (Polypodium interjectum Shivas). Mrs E. M. Hyde assisted in making the survey and identifying several species, especially of the garden plants. Francis Simpson 40 Ruskin Road, Ipswich IP4 1PT
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Simpson, F. W.