Archive for March, 2018


Strangely yellow Buddleia davidii leaves among stonecrop (possibly Sedum acre) beside the Wharf

I am thoroughly enjoying my lunchtime explorations of a new habitat this year – the Wharf (the old East Bute Dock) next to Cardiff’s County Hall in the Bay. As spring arrives there are so many little wild plants coming to life on the stone and concrete surfaces around the water, making do with whatever nutrients there are in hollows and cracks (or nooks and crannies, if you prefer the cliché). In some ways these little beauties remind me of those found in an alpine habitat. (more…)

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Catkins of alder (Alnus glutinosa) on the Wharf – I love the way the water looks like silk

Several of my colleagues at work are suffering from hay fever at the moment, and I wonder if that is partly because of the pollen from alders and other catkin-producing trees around the Wharf (old Bute East Dock) next to our office in Cardiff’s County Hall.

I went out one lunchtime this week to take some pictures of the catkins and other early signs of spring. By the way, I expect you knew that the word catkin means “little cat” or kitten, because the inflorescence looks like a kitten’s tail. (more…)

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Another snowy interlude…


Grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) in the Cardiff snow yesterday

The so-called “Beast from the East” returned briefly to South Wales yesterday, but it won’t stop me going to work today – although it’s freezing cold. The snow didn’t stick to the damp streets and the biting north-easterly wind soon blew the snow from the branches of trees and shrubs.

I can never resist taking pictures through the kitchen window in such weather, so here are just a few snaps… (more…)

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The red buds of the linden show no change since last month


Very little has changed since I chose this linden tree in February. For one thing it has been a short month and for another we had a blast of wintry snow for a few days, which seems to have set us back in our charge towards spring.

There have been no further clues to help me identify the tree fully, but there’s no reason to doubt that it is some variety of small-leaved linden or lime, Tilia cordata.

It stands in a car park by the Wharf (old East Bute Dock) near County Hall in Cardiff Bay and I doubt if I will ever see it without a background of vehicles. (more…)

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Well, that was a surprise – we woke up to thick snow on March 2…


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.

We had a bit of a short, sharp shock here at the beginning of the month, when “the Beast From the East” brought blizzards and “Storm Emma” brought strong winds to the UK – even to the milder southern areas such as here in South Wales. And apparently it will be cold again this weekend.

We always love to read your tree news – so thank you to everyone who contributed this month – including a couple of newcomers. Here are the links…

Lea’s Menagerie – in Mississippi

Erika Groth in Sweden – bird cherry

Flighty’s Plot – Liz’s black walnut and Mike’s medlars

Alison at the Blackberry Garden – quince

Pat – Squirrelbasket – small-leaved linden

Hollis (In the Company of Plants and Rocks) – boxelder (Acer negundo) and whatever’s nearby

Frances at Island Threads, off the North West coast of Scotland – hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)

Annie – Acer pictum or Acer mono

Botany in Birmingham – finding a tree

Thank you to everyone for taking part – see you all again on April 7!

If you are thinking of joining us next time, read all about the tree-following idea here.

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Here is another monthly round-up of tree news articles from around the world. Click on each of the pictures if you would like to read the full stories.

Desert blooms for just a few days


In southern Ecuador, flowering guayacán trees paint the landscape yellow – but not for long, reports Atlas Obscura…

Winter Olympics meant death of trees


The Olympic alpine centre in South Korea was built after 60,000 trees were felled. Now they may be replaced, reports VOA…


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Robin (Erithacus rubecula) in the snow yesterday

We had serious snow here in Cardiff on Thursday and Friday – so bad that I was sent home from work at lunchtime on Thursday after a Red Warning was issued. Only a couple of us remembered it was St David’s Day (March 1), a day for daffodils.

Then on Friday I was really frustrated that I couldn’t get into work, after boasting that of course I would be there – I was sure the snow wouldn’t be as bad as they were forecasting. But it was and no buses were running in the city. If I had walked it would have taken me a couple of dangerous hours and I would have been sent straight back home again as soon as I arrived.

So instead I got some housework done, watched some TV and tried to capture the birds outside the kitchen window. We always put out fat blocks and pellets and sunflower seeds and every morning I throw out a couple of handfuls of raisins for the blackbirds, which are always there waiting. We have up to seven or eight of them on a good day. (more…)

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