Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Lovely weather for wetlands


The Newport Wetlands on Boxing Day

Very heavy rain throughout December and over Christmas and the New Year here in South Wales means the weather hasn’t really been good for anything. We have been lucky to miss the flooding that has hit the North of the UK, but it has still been so miserable that it has put a damper (or dampener) on our seasonal gallivanting.

Usually we make it to West Wales, but this time the highlight was just the Newport Wetlands nature reserve on Boxing Day. (more…)

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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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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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The Lucombe oak at Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan, in January 2015

In May last year I blogged about some magnificent turkey oaks, Quercus cerris, in Llandaff Fields, Cardiff. You can read the post here.

Well if I thought that was a quirky Quercus, I have now seen one that is even more unusual – the so-called Lucombe oak, Quercus x hispanica ‘Lucombeana’. I first spotted it in January at the National Trust’s Dyffryn Gardens in the Vale of Glamorgan. (more…)

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Beech tree (Fagus sylvatica) beside the river Taff in Cardiff


Welcome to my first attempt to provide a 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.

It’s a mixed time of year for the trees here in the UK in the Autumn (or Fall to those of you in North America). Some have lost nearly all their leaves. Some, like the lindens, cast off their lemon-yellow leaves early. Some, like the wonderful maples, are a beautiful red. Some trees still have their seeds attached…

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