Remembered roses


Some of the flowers given to me by colleagues at Media Wales when I ‘retired’ in October 2015

God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December…
I read that line in a Reader’s Digest many decades ago – it is usually attributed to J M Barrie, the author of Peter Pan.

This is my 500th blog post, but don’t get too excited! I’m afraid I have no giveaway or special offer for you. I’m not even going to do a roundup this time, although you may find some of my favourites in my Blog post 300 and counting.

I’m afraid this post is just me reflecting on my “real” life outside blogging, so don’t feel obliged to read it! It has been brewing for a long time – ever since I first “retired” from my journalism “job for life” 18 months ago. Continue Reading »


The avenue of 100 disease-resistant elms in Pontcanna Fields, Cardiff, in April


This year I am following an avenue of 100 disease-resistant elms, Ulmus ‘New Horizon’, in Pontcanna Fields, Cardiff.

When I visited just over a month ago there were little red flowers with no petals. Now these have disappeared and the trees are greening up with their pretty, slightly lopsided leaves.

These leaves are “alternate” (spiral, not exactly opposite each other), with simple, “doubly serrate” margins (meaning there are smaller serrations within the serrations), asymmetric at the base and “acuminate” (tapering) at the apex. Continue Reading »


The arrival of green leaves heralds the falling of these magnificent pink Magnolia soulangeana blooms in a front garden I walked past this week

The April tree-following link box is now closed, but below are the links tree followers have shared this month.

Here in South Wales we are coming to the end of the pink and white cherry blossom season but most of the magnolias are still magnificent.

Some people have already chosen a new tree to follow – but spring is a great time for you to join us.

There’s no rush, you can join in at any time and you don’t really have to contribute every single month if that’s too much for you.

If you are new to tree following, read all about it here.

And without further ado, here are those links…

Alison at the Blackberry Garden – quince

Hollis (In the Company of Plants and Rocks) – Sabalites powellii fossil

Erika Groth in Sweden – rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

Amy in the Sonoran Desert (A Small Sunny Garden) –
Arizona rosewood (Vauquelinia californica)

Mike – Flighty’s Plot – Liz’s tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) and Flighty’s dogwood (Cornus)

John Kingdon – The Rivendell Garden Blog – bombed by crabs

Frances at Island Threads, off the North West coast of Scotland – rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

Pat – Squirrelbasket – elm leaves and fruit

April Hughes – fiddle tree – Liriodendron tulipifera

Thank you to everyone – see you all again on May 7!


The landscape of Connemara in Ireland in the summer of 1996

Summer’s coming and its that time of year for thinking about faraway places. I have been going through my old 35mm negatives and decided to sort out some shots from Ireland in the 1990s. They aren’t too bad, but it’s sad to think what better pictures I could take now with a digital camera!

We went to Ireland for several years in a row, ranging farther and farther to the west, and for me the most wonderful landscape of all was in Connemara, an area of lakes and mountains to the north and west of Galway city. Continue Reading »

Here is another selection of tree news articles from around the world. Click on each of the pictures if you would like to read the full stories.

Poems for the International Day of Forests


For the International Day of Forests on March 21, The Metro published some poems and images of trees…

Mapped: Countries with the most trees


Also coinciding with the International Day of Forests is this detailed survey of the countries with most trees, reported in the Telegraph…

Continue Reading »


Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria, now renamed Ficaria verna) in the woodland part of my garden this week

What a strange word “yellow” seems to be. While most of our words for basic colours are very similar to the German words, such as blue, green and red for blau, grün and rot, at first glance yellow and gelb don’t seem to be related. But they are – about which I’ll say more later. Continue Reading »


Red flowers on the 100 elms Ulmus ‘New Horizon’ in Pontcanna Fields, Cardiff


As I mentioned last month, this year I am following an avenue of 100 disease-resistant elms, Ulmus ‘New Horizon’, in Pontcanna Fields, Cardiff. I visited on February 24 and was delighted to see there were plenty of little red flowers. They are apetalous – they have no petals – as they are wind pollinated and don’t need to be attractive to insects.

The flowers have both male and female structures (stamens and carpels), so they are hermaphroditic (other words are androgynous, monoclinous, synoecious). Continue Reading »