September snapshots


Michaelmas daisies (Aster amellus) in the herbaceous borders of Bute Park, Cardiff

At university we used to call this the Michaelmas term, so I thought it appropriate to start with an image of Michaelmas daisies. Although I hadn’t realised that Michaelmas, a quarter day of the financial year, is on September 29. I never thought about it before.

I have walked into the city centre along the River Taff a couple of times over the last few weeks, including just after Storm Aileen (which I completely slept through in the early hours of the morning of September 13), so I thought I would share some seasonal snapshots. Continue Reading »


One of very few yellow leaves fallen from the 100 elm trees in Pontcanna Fields, Cardiff


I really shouldn’t be disappointed, but I was hoping for a hint of fall colour in the 100 disease-resistant elms, Ulmus ‘New Horizon’, in Pontcanna Fields this month. After all, September is officially the start of autumn, according to the weather people.

The trees may still be as green and lush as ever, but the weather has definitely become more “back-end-ish” as the daylight hours grow shorter. The summer never did come to anything, the rain continues and now it’s getting colder, too.

There’s that distinctive something in the air that inspires nostalgia for childhood and renewed ambitions to cuddle up and do something creative. Continue Reading »


Sunlight through leaves of my moon maple, Acer shirasawanum aureum, this week


The tree-following link box has now closed for another month. To explore everyone’s updates, please go straight to the bottom of this post.

Why don’t you join us and follow a tree, too? You can start at any time and you don’t have to contribute every month if that’s too much of a commitment for you.

The summer continued to be wet and cool here in Cardiff, but now it’s officially autumn. As usual the trees are changing colour in a piecemeal sort of way. The small moon maple in my garden seems to be turning to gold gently this year, as pictured above. I have blogged about it before, here.

Autumn is a good time to start following a tree, or to revisit a tree you didn’t have time for over the summer holidays. If you are new to tree following, read all about it here.

And without further ado, here are this month’s links…

Erika Groth in Sweden – rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

Hollis (In the Company of Plants and Rocks) – visiting her old friend the pussy willow)

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

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

Alison at the Blackberry Garden – quince

Pat – Squirrelbasket – 100 elm trees

Thank you to everyone – see you all again on October 7.

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.

They call it ‘crown shyness’


Tree tops avoid touching and create the appearance of winding rivers in this collection of stunning images on Mail Online…

Spain must raze all vegetation on Mallorca, says EU report


The Spanish island of Mallorca could be virtually razed of vegetation under an EU plan to halt the march of a deadly bacteria known as ‘ebola of the olive’, reports the Telegraph…

Continue Reading »


A mysterious crack has appeared in this stone head in the lounge

I have been meaning to compile a blog post about my favourite “ancient stone heads of the world” for a while – and now I have an excuse. The small stone head I bought at the Ideal Home Exhibition in the 1980s has suddenly developed a crack. Continue Reading »


The magnificent blotched leaves of Persicaria maculosa, which I have always known by its old Linnaean name of Polygonum persicaria

In the absence of any other ideas, I felt it was time to have a look again at street plants (weeds, some might say). With all the rain recently it has been a good year for the pavement greenery. Here are a few examples from just one main road near my Cardiff home. Continue Reading »


My popcorn hydrangea ‘Ayesha’ is starting to show a range of flower shapes

It’s six years now since I first posted about my popcorn hydrangea ‘Ayesha’, but this summer, with all the rain, it has grown huge and vigorous. It has also started to diversify! Usually the flowers remind me of lilac but now the sepals are starting to appear flat as in many other hydrangeas.

I thought the proper word for it was “recidivism”, which I thought also applied to variegated leaves turning back to plain green, but now I can find no reference to this word botanically, only in the sense of a prisoner returning to a life of crime or a medical condition relapsing. Continue Reading »