How can I learn to identify the wild flowers that grow round here?
Plantlife has some local events which may help, but not in every area of the country. Also try your local library for a list of organisations such as Natural History clubs, conservation groups, or local branches of your County Wildlife Trust. These groups will have walks and visits scattered through the year, of which some should concentrate on the plants. Anyone can join! The Field Studies Council centres and botanic gardens (eg. Edinburgh or Cambridge) run courses focusing on identification of different types of plants – have a look online to find out what’s happening this year if you are interested in going on a course.
Invest in one or two of the easy-to-use flower guide books, especially ones like The Wild Flower Key by Frances Rose (pub Warne) or the Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland by Blamey, Fitter and Fitter, (pub Tandem, 2003) or Collins Pocket Guide to Wild Flowers by Fitter, Fitter and Blamey (1996). Choose a book, and take it with you when you go out with a group to help you learn. You could practise on some weeds in the garden, whose names you know already, to get the idea of how the book works. You may also have to learn some close observational skills; all the different parts of the plant (except the root – please do not dig it up!) must be examined! If your eyes need help, get a small hand lens (10x is best). You will develop a fascinating hobby that can last a lifetime.