St John’s Churchyard

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Meadow Saxifrage (Saxifraga granulata) in St John’s Churchyard, Shirley

Jane McLauchlin June 2021

The churchyard has a good population of this attractive plant, which is also found locally in All Saints Sanderstead churchyard, the gardens at Coombe Wood and the road verges of Sanderstead Hill and Purley Downs Road. It grows in longish grass which remains unmown until early June, when it flowers. It is not very conspicuous before and after flowering. If the grass remains unmown for a few weeks after flowering it will produce and distribute its seed. The soil conditions and management of St John’s must suit it, with the path sides neatly mown and most of the rest allowed to make a colourful flowery meadow. Oxeye Daisies were particularly conspicuous on my visit of 7 June 2021. There were many patches of Saxifrage, mostly in sections B and F, with a few found in A, D and H. I have indicated these on the map from Bernard Maguire’s churchyard tree trail.

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