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Spring is in the air – already…

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It’s that time again – for tree followers to get together for a monthly exchange of news. If you are new to tree following, you can find out all about it here.

In the northern hemisphere this is a great time to start a year of tree following, as “Now is the Sun come up from the south, With Oak, and Ash, and Thorn” – that’s from Kipling’s A Tree Song, by the way.

Here in Cardiff the hours of daylight are lengthening and a sunny sky makes all the difference after months of rain. There are even early signs of spring – the white flower pictured above is perhaps a member of the cherry (Prunus) family? I have also seen magnolias coming into bloom.

It may still be deep winter where you live – or mid summer if you are in the southern hemisphere. Whatever the conditions, I wonder what your tree is doing? Please click on the widget below and share your link with us. Remember the link box closes at 7am on February 14.

This is a bit of a change from my usual blog posts, but I have noticed a lot of news stories about trees lately, so I thought I would share some of them with you. These include a few environmental tragedies, but also some happier articles. Click on each of the pictures if you would like to read the full stories.

Bush fires devastate ancient landscape

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The Guardian reports that catastrophic bush fires, caused by lightning, have destroyed a huge area of ancient woodland in Tasmania. The world heritage site was home to a range of unique alpine flora including pencil pines, king billy pines and cushion plants, some more than 1,000 years old…

Vote for the European Tree of the Year

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You can vote for the European Tree of the Year 2016 until the end of the month. At the moment the Eastern European trees are way ahead – a bit like the Eurovision Song Contest! The candidate pictured above is a pine growing through the middle of an oak in Spain…

Continue Reading »

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Feral pigeons in a tree in Thompson’s Park, Cardiff – sorry the middle one looks like it’s headless!

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I think I have found my tree to follow for 2016. Or, as happened in previous years, it has found me. In the last few weeks I have visited Thompson’s Park, not far from my home in Cardiff, several times.

There are many trees in the park – a variety of conifers and some big, bare old trees I managed to identify, even without name labels. Continue Reading »

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Jelly-like fungi on a rotting tree stump in Thompson’s Park, Cardiff

This year I will probably follow a tree in a small Cardiff park I hardly know – Thompson’s Park. But my latest search for a tree worthy of regular bulletins was overtaken by my wonder at all the fungi I saw on a damp afternoon walk there.

Thompson’s Park is one of Cardiff’s oldest, having opened to the public in 1891. I will no doubt share some general views in another post, but this time I am just excited by the fungi growing on the very old and decaying trees. Three of the species I saw were on one tall stump. Continue Reading »

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Zinnia elegans in the gardens of Tredegar House in late September, 2015

You know how it is – you go to so many places in September that you suddenly find it’s January and there are autumn visits you haven’t had time to blog about yet. So I apologise that this post isn’t topical – although it is at least colourful during these dark, wet days of midwinter.

Tredegar House in Newport, south-east Wales, was taken over by the National Trust in March, 2012. Most of the red-brick house dates from the late 17th century but I will write a separate post about the house itself. This time I want to feature the plants in bloom in the gardens in September. Continue Reading »

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Ginkgo Avenue, Bute Park, Cardiff

I was toying with the idea of following a Ginkgo biloba or maidenhair tree this year, but I have been unable to find a single one close at hand that I can visit every month. What I have found is a whole avenue of Ginkgo trees in Cardiff’s Bute Park. So rather than single out just one to follow every month I am going to visit the avenue less often, to see how it changes in the four seasons. Continue Reading »

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Face to face with William Smith – a bust of the man by Joseph Brogden Baker of Scarborough and a portrait painted in 1837 by Hughes Forau

Have you heard of William “Strata” Smith? Well I hadn’t until 2001, when I read a review in a weekend magazine and bought Simon Winchester’s book about him, called The Map that Changed the World. He has been one of my heroes ever since. Continue Reading »

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