Archive for December, 2015


Maidenhair spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes)

I have been out foraging for a bunch of midwinter street greens for Hollis, who has taken over the bimonthly street plant roundup from Lucy at Loose and Leafy.
Hollis’ main blog is In the Company of Plants and Rocks but she has a special place for urban plants here.

I had been looking off and on for a while, but in the end, on Christmas Eve, I decided to concentrate on the plants that grow on the best wall I know, outside the Chapter Arts Centre here in Cardiff. The centre is housed in the old Cantonian High School, which was built of lovely red bricks in 1905. (more…)

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Art for Susan Hill’s story Can it be True? by Valerie Greeley and used on a card by Oxfam

As usual I wish you a Merry Christmas with some of my favourite card designs from those I have received this year. Click on the images to go either to the artist or the charity’s website. (more…)

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Fireworks over Poole Harbour, summer 2014

This has crept up on me a bit. It’s my 400th blog post, so I thought I had better mark it, even though it has arrived at a time of year when lots of other things are going on – such as Christmas and a New Year. (more…)

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Rotting apples in the hollow trunk of a tree at Aberglasney

Although there was still lots of late-summer colour when we visited Aberglasney at the end of September, there was also lots of mellow fruitfulness and autumn decay. Here are a few snaps – and maybe you can identify those species that I can’t. (more…)

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Small tortoiseshell butterfly (Aglais urticae) on Verbena bonariensis at Aberglasney, late September 2015

It wasn’t that long ago that we visited Aberglasney House and Gardens in Carmarthenshire, but it now seems a whole season away. We last went in late September, when there were still so many flowers in bloom. So I am going to share them here. There were also signs of autumn change and decay, but I will put those in a second blog post. (more…)

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Fallen red conifer needles in Bute Park in December


Welcome to my second monthly tree-following link box after taking over the project from Loose and Leafy. The box is now closed but you’ll find everyone’s links at the bottom of the post.

In the UK most of the tree leaves have fallen now, although I can still see yellow sycamore and hazel leaves hanging on in a sheltered corner of my garden. We had a very wet and windy November here – I wonder what the weather has been like where you live?

I love learning new things and the tree at the top of this post has taught me that larches are not the only conifers that lose their foliage in winter. I’m afraid I always thought they were.

I spotted that tree beside the red bridge in Cardiff’s Bute Park in November and at first I thought it was dying… (more…)

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Holly berries in the background make the seed capsules look Christmassy, don’t you think?


I was lucky with the weather when I visited my empress tree (Paulownia tomentosa) in Cardiff’s Bute Park this week. There had been torrential rain and gale-force winds for days but there was a brief respite on Tuesday.

I was meeting a friend for coffee at the Pettigrew Tea Rooms at the entrance to the park, so it made sense to choose this as my December day for the empress. I think it lovely that the cafe is named after a family of Victorian gardeners who did so much to create Cardiff’s parks, particularly in their planting of trees. (more…)

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A tawny eagle (Aquila rapax) at the Ebbw Vale bird of prey sanctuary

Whenever we go to the Festival Park shopping centre in Ebbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent, we like to visit the owl sanctuary, which has now been there for 14 years. Although it’s called an “owl” sanctuary, it is home to about 60 different birds of prey, not just owls. Most of these poor creatures were bought as pets or gifts and then the owners decided they didn’t want them or couldn’t look after them properly.

The majority of the birds cannot be released into the wild as they were either bred in captivity or are native to far-off lands. (more…)

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