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200315-eclipse-29

Don’t look at the sun! 2015 eclipse through a tree – there will be lots of trees in this blog post!

I know it’s all so “yesterday” (or the day before yesterday), but Friday was an eclipse day here in the UK. The solar eclipse wasn’t total here in Cardiff, but we would get something like 85% coverage.

During the last good eclipse here, in August 1999, I watched from the office window, using special viewers, but this time I wanted to do it differently and I had a few plans. Continue Reading »

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London plane trees (Platanus x hispanica) in Bute Park, Cardiff

Spring is on its way, but in Bute Park, Cardiff, there are signs of death and decay as well as signs of new life and growth. Continue Reading »

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The empress tree (Paulownia tomentosa) in Bute Park, Cardiff

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This is the second post from the empress tree in Bute Park, Cardiff, as part of the brilliant Loose and Leafy tree-following project organised by Lucy Corrander.

I probably gave away too much historical information about the Paulownia tomentosa species in my first post, so this time I am just inspecting the Cardiff tree, planted in the 1950s, more closely to see what I can find before it bursts into flowery and leafy life in Spring. Continue Reading »

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A winter day at the Priory Church of St Mary, Usk

On a day when winter was still cold and dank, we visited Usk in Monmouthshire. We sometimes go there for lunch at the Three Salmons Hotel, but we were early, so wandered more than usual. New to me was this little Priory Church of St Mary. New to me, but it has been there for 900 years.

Maybe it was the shade of the low winter sun, or the dark colour of the stones, but to me it looked a bit creepy, the sort of place Continue Reading »

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Signs of Spring – crocuses in Bute Park, Cardiff, at the end of February, 2015

I wasn’t planning on posting today, until the husband asked “Why is February so short?” Had I never asked that myself? Anyway, I had to find out in a hurry, as the days were running out and today was going to be March 1, marked as our St David’s Day here in Wales.

The history of calendars is ever so complicated, so I don’t think for a minute that what I am about to say is “correct”, but it’s my interpretation of what I found online, including Wikipedia and various question-and-answer forums.

The main point Continue Reading »

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Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) at the base of a postbox

Lucy Corrander, over at the Loose and Leafy blog, has a section in which she features wild plants growing on town and city streets. So this post is for her!

I see these plants most days but only rarely take pictures of them. This is Llandaff Road in Cardiff, a traffic-busy street lined with houses and small front gardens, plus a few shops and former institutions. Here are the best plants I spotted in the space of about half a mile on a late-February morning. I suppose the traffic keeps the street quite warm. Any help with the identification gratefully received…
Continue Reading »

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Grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) on the roof, February 8, 2015

I have written before about grey wagtails – see my post from November 2013 (can it really be that long ago?) – but they are such a rarity here that I like to mark their appearances.

I only ever see grey wagtails on the neighbour’s moss-covered roof and it is usually on a clear, cold day at the beginning or end of winter. I know they Continue Reading »

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