On Saturday I had an unexpected day to myself AND the car! So, I set off for west Suffolk and then moved on to the Brecks for what turned out to be a rather splendid day. Starting off in a wood I know well in the Sudbury area I got to a clearing after a long walk and began looking for my target plant. After some while I gave up and made a phone call to Meg. She talked me through things and pretty soon I was gawping at a lovely clump of Betony. This is a scarce plant indeed but not as scarce as my second target which was a 5 minute walk away in a field on the edge of the woodland. This was Woolly Thistle and I found 3 large plants easily. There are apparantly many more further on but I was on private land and had spotted 2 vehicles moving through while I was in the bushes so didn't want to chance it! The clearings and rides through the wood held enormous numbers of Red Bartsia and Wild Basil plus Corn Mint of interest.
My next port of call was a section of the Devil's Dyke near Newmarket I'd not done before. Here I was pleasantly surprised to find Clustered Bellflower very easily. The whole section of the dyke was a real picture with Wild Parsnip, Burnet Saxifrage, Dwarf Thistle, Harebells, Small Scabious, Bloody Cranesbill, and Old Man's Beard while the Chalkhill Blues were a constant companion. People talk of their 'happy places' - this is one of mine!
With time on my side and being in no hurry I made my way north on the A11 and decided to pay a visit to Santon Downham on my way back. And boy did it prove to be a good decision - I bumped into a twitter aquaintance who was able to show me the biggest patch of the biggest Green-flowered Helleborines I've ever seen. And many had flowers open! I counted c25 plants in that spot plus another and also c8 Yellow Bird's-nest plants, Broad-leaved Helleborines and a Dark Mullien.
Fast forward to Sunday and Belinda and I opted for a walk at Thelnetham Fen after we'd done some grocery shopping in Diss. It was an inspired if rather lucky choice as I amazingly found no fewer than 4 new plants for me - Great Burnet, Parsley Water-dropwort, Smooth Hawksbeard and Hoary Ragwort. OK, the last 2 are 'tart's ticks' but the first 2 are pretty special! The last of the years Marsh Helleborines were still just about in flower.