At the recent Foire de Saint-Georges in Preuilly I ran into my friend Albert. He's the former postmaster here and quite interested in wild flowers. He mentioned he'd been fishing on the Aigronne River (one of the tributaries of the Claise) and had seen good numbers of Fritillaries out a couple of hundred metres up from the Chateau de Ré, growing in the grass amongst a riverside poplar grove. I knew there were a few Fritillaries growing in the valley, but I hadn't realised there were any sizeable colonies, so this was most interesting news.
There are apparently a number of colonies of both Fritillaries and Purple Toothwort in this section of the Aigronne Valley, between Le Petit Pressigny and Le Grand Pressigny. At the moment there is quite a bit of activity along the river as it is the focus of a 'makeover' designed to improve water quality and biodiversity. Our friends Tim and Pauline, who live right in the middle of the valley have expressed some concerns that the work is too geared towards creating the ideal trout fishing river, possibly at the expense of other species and interests. You can read their first hand observations of the project and of some equally worrying modern farming practices on their blog Aigronne Valley Wildlife.
I, too, wonder what the effect of removing the poplar plantations will be on the colonies of Fritillaries and Toothwort, since both are often associated with the poplars. Will they survive the disturbance?
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PS - Rocket to Nowhere (cool name) didn't win, but they sounded good.