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If you know Poole in Dorset, can you identify where you will find these two versions of the town coat of arms?

I love Poole in Dorset (where my mother was born) and have always been intrigued by the place’s coat of arms, with its heraldic dolphin and three shells – I thought they were cockles, as the town history trail is called the cockleshell trail, but Wikipedia says they are scallop shells. So I thought I would write a post about it, and share my images of three “sightings” of the arms. (more…)

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Frosted oak leaves on January 3, 2017


Before I turn my attention to a new tree to follow in 2017, I am looking back with fondness at the old oak (Quercus robur) I have followed throughout 2016 in Thompson’s Park, Cardiff.

I visited again on a frosty day last week but now it’s winter there is not going to be much change until it starts the annual cycle again in spring.

The only new observation was this spent firework from the New Year’s Eve festivities…


Firework shell under the oak on January 3, 2017

So here is a comparison of how the tree looked as the months passed in 2016. (more…)

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Which tree is waiting for you in 2017? This is a cherry tree in Thompson’s Park, Cardiff, pictured this week and tweaked with Photoshop


The January tree-following link box is now closed, but at the bottom of this post you will find links to the excellent contributions we received this month.

I am still trying to decide which tree to follow in 2017 but some people have already chosen a new tree – why not join us? There’s no rush, you can join in at any time and you don’t really have to do it every single month if that’s too much.

If you are new to tree following, read all about it here.

This time last year I shared my thoughts on how to choose a tree to follow – so if you are stuck for ideas you might read it here.

In Cardiff it’s the middle of winter and the start of a new year. For me it’s time to say goodbye to the tree I have followed through 2016 before moving on – see a round-up of my old oak’s year here.

Here are this month’s other contributions:

Erika Groth in Sweden has chosen a new tree – a rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

Frances at Island Threads, off the North West coast of Scotland, has also chosen a rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), so it will be interesting to compare

Alison at the Blackberry Garden followed a quince last year – and this year she has bought another to keep it company

Hollis (In the Company of Plants and Rocks) is taking an interest in a sabalites – a fossil palm tree once native to Wyoming

Amy in the Sonoran Desert (A Small Sunny Garden) has chosen a delightful Arizona rosewood (Vauquelinia californica) for 2017

Mike at Flighty’s Plot is now following a dogwood (Cornus), while his friend Liz in Kentucky plans to focus on a tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)

January is quite a thin time for some tree followers, but the choices everyone has made so far are brilliant. Here’s to many more joining us before Spring comes to the Northern hemisphere. And it would be great to have someone from “down South”, too…

Thank you to everyone – see you all again on February 7!

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Shiny butterfly stickers – I use them to brighten up my notebooks

Something a bit different this time… I have written a guest post about my favourite stationery for my blogging friend Shaz, for her Stationery Love feature on Jera’s Jamboree. This is the link.

If you are not already following the blog, do explore the rest of Jera’s Jamboree, which has a lot to say about books but is also full of inspiration on all sorts of lifestyle subjects. I love it!

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Robin (Erithacus rubecula) at Dunraven on Christmas Day 2016

When it’s fine on Christmas Day we often go to Dunraven Castle at Southerndown in the Vale of Glamorgan to eat pâté and pickle sandwiches in the walled garden – our main meal of roast beef and Brussels sprouts is in the evening. This year the weather was good, with a cold, brisk wind that kept the cloudy sky interesting. (more…)

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This was the main card I sent out to people this year, although thinking about it I’m not sure what makes it Christmassy – Moongazing Hares by Dawn Maciocia for the RSPB rspb.org.uk

As usual I wish you a Merry Christmas with some of my favourite designs from the cards I have received this year. They are all charity cards so click on the images to go to the charity websites. (more…)

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Here is another selection of tree news articles from around the world. Festive warning: May contain Christmas trees!
Click on each of the pictures if you would like to read the full stories.

Talent show for trees?


I watched the tree of the year contest on Channel 4 TV and was worried it would be too much like X-Factor, but Ardal O’Hanlon did a pretty good job in keeping it light. Click on the image to go to the preview article, which also describes more of the trees taking part…

And the winner is – a Welsh oak


An oak tree in Mid Wales won the UK tree of the year accolade – it was so precious that a new road was diverted around it. Here’s the Wales Online report…


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