Archive for October, 2010


October is a time of spider webs in the garden

Throughout 2010 I am revisiting the little green nature book that accompanied my childhood and trying to track down the plants and animals featured in its monthly sketchbook pages. I’m learning a lot as I go along.

The book is “Wild Life Through the Year” by Richard Morse and it was published in 1942. You can read about earlier months here.

October 2010 in South Wales has been typically autumnal, with some very nippy, dry, clear days and some wet and blustery, depending on the wind direction, cold North/East or warm South/West. There was also sometimes (more…)

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Cat and Jack o\’ Lantern by Robb Mommaerts


This is a swede lantern just like I used to make – click on the image to go to a Scottish \’tumshie lantern\’ article…

Halloween is drawing near so I thought I would look at pumpkin lanterns – and the swede lanterns I am more familiar with from my Welsh childhood. A swede? You may also know it as a Swedish turnip, yellow turnip or rutabaga.

Here in the UK there is a long tradition of making lanterns from turnips, mangelwurzels and swedes for harvest time in general, but it was the Americans who started to call them Jack o’ lanterns in 1837 and to associate them with Halloween, in 1866. Thanks Wikipedia for telling me all that.

American traditions have taken over in the UK now, not only by replacing root vegetables with jolly pumpkins, but also (more…)

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My favourite tree – click on the picture to read my blog post on Liquidambar styraciflua – red queen of the fall

In Britain autumn leaves are usually considered to be more golden than red, but there are exceptions and I have quite a few of them in my own garden.

But why in temperate latitudes do autumn leaves change colour and fall at all?

The green leaves are the plant’s food factories, taking water from the soil, carbon dioxide from the air and energy from sunlight and (more…)

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Doppelganger by Perodog on Deviant Art...

The word Doppelgänger used to mean so much more! Nowadays if someone is merely the spitting image of someone else, they are called Doppelgängers. Spitting image? I’ll come to that later…

Some newspapers still have a “separated at birth” feature, in which readers suggest (more…)

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Snowberries (Symphoricarpos albus) I saw in a city hedge the other day - they make a satisfying pop when you stamp on them

The other day I spotted some snowberries in the hedge of a city terrace and it took me right back to my childhood in the country and how we played with any natural materials that came to hand.

Snowberries (Symphoricarpos albus) are also called waxberries as they (more…)

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ryder cup

Wives and girlfriends of the American golfers at the washed-out first day of the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Wales - click on the picture to see more images at WalesOnline...

The first day of golf’s Ryder Cup here in Wales was pretty well washed out by rain, and it got me thinking about the word umbrella (or brolly for short). Lovely word.

lost umbrella

Lost umbrella by Ria Hills...

We often have broken brolly days here in the city, when a combination of rain and strong winds leads to discarded umbrellas all over the pavements, their backs broken, whether big golf umbrellas or little collapsible ones, whether traditional black or girly pink, or brightly patterned.

Umbrella means, literally, “little shadow” in Latin. Although (more…)

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