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rhsshow-37

A trio of metal bees for £17.50 from Patio and Terrace… http://www.patioandterrace.co.uk

On Sunday we went to the Cardiff RHS Flower Show in Bute Park. It was a glorious Spring day and it felt great to be out and about. In previous years (click here for 2012 and 2013) I took a lot of flower pictures, but this time I seem to have taken far more of the outside trade stalls.

First there were the insects… (more…)

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Green leaves on the hornbeam

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At last it seems like Spring – although there is still a slight nip in the air. I went for a wonderful morning walk in the fields to visit the hornbeam I have been following for Loose and Leafy.

The first time I visited, I walked across muddy rugby pitches; the second time I walked up along a steep main road; the third time I took a bus and it went the “wrong” way. This time I got it right, starting at a slightly different entrance to the fields and sticking to the footpaths.

I was relieved to find (more…)

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spider-web

Rainbow colours in a spider web caused by diffraction of light – from Earth Science Picture of the Day

Please indulge me while I share some shiny things with you.
I always get like this in Spring, when the sun grows stronger and nature has a certain sheen to it.

I think it’s a woman thing, a gatherer trait inherited from our Stone Age forebears, who must have spent their whole lives looking for bright, shiny berries to pick and eat.

And in many species it’s the male who displays and the female who appreciates it. Apparently not in humans, but diamonds are still a girl’s best friend. So here I am exploring both sparklies and more subtle lustres – as I look at the words iridescence, opalescence and pearlescence. (more…)

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My hornbeam in late February…

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I didn’t plan to post another Loose and Leafy tree following update so soon after the last, but I got the urge to go and visit my hornbeam again and the resulting pictures don’t warrant a major posting, so I will get it off my chest before moving on to a “proper” visit on another day.

I had been slightly worried that the tree might be felled, after spotting men with chainsaws on my last visit to Llandaff Fields… (more…)

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The tree I am following, pictured this week…

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Well, I hoped this tree-following lark with Loose and Leafy would be educational – and I have already been gobsmacked on just my second visit to the “random” tree I chose in Llandaff Fields, Cardiff.

In my first bulletin, I foolishly said I thought it was a European beech (Fagus sylvatica). Oh, how wrong I was!

Fearing I might (more…)

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Magpie (Pica pica) eating a mouse, perched on an ash tree in the garden

Spring is coming to my garden but as well as the usual new life bursting out all over the place, there are some losses, too.

I think the blackbirds are nesting outside my window – I saw a female taking a beakful of grass into a spiky Mahonia bush. But I fear it won’t give enough protection, as the magpies and crows are already (more…)

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Admiralty Park, Holton Heath…

There’s a great novel called Ursula Under by Ingrid Hill, “a daring saga of culture, history, and heredity”. A little girl falls down a mineshaft and we learn of all her wonderful ancestors who were born thanks to minor miracles that brought their parents together or saved them from early death. By quirks of fate does our personal DNA come together.

Obviously I would not be here today if my parents had not met. So in a way I owe my existence to World War II and specifically to the manufacture of explosives by the Royal Navy…

My father was from South Wales, my mother from South Dorset. What could possibly (more…)

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The tree I intend to follow – which I think might be a beech…

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There you go, I’ve revealed what species I think it is – the tree I intend to follow. I believe it to be a European beech, Latin name Fagus sylvaticus (meaning “beech of the forest”). Although of course I could be wrong!

I told how I found this tree in Llandaff Fields, Cardiff, in my last blog post, “First find your tree“.

So here I will mainly just show you photographs (lots) of (more…)

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Which tree to choose?

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Nature has a spring in its step this week – and so do I, thanks to Lucy Corrander over at Loose and Leafy, who is coordinating a “tree following” project over the next year. Last time I looked, she already had more than 50 people joining in – and I have decided to sign up, too.

This isn’t my first OFFICIAL post for that project, this is about how I located THE tree I have decided to follow…

My first thought (more…)

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Cherry blossom sprouting on a roadside tree

After months of rain and gales, with floods and falling trees, this week has been comparatively calm in Wales. Winter probably hasn’t finished with us yet, but at last there have been real signs of spring.

I noticed catkins and cherry blossom on roadside trees as I was walking home in the dusk the other night, so took my camera with me next morning. They must have (more…)

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