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140416-wall-10

The Pontcanna Fields wall, on the right, is accompanied by maybe a hundred holm oaks

This is a blog post I have been mulling over for years but finally I have drawn together all my snaps of what I like to call the Great Wall of Pontcanna, which runs around Pontcanna Fields in Cardiff. Also fascinating for me is the fact that for its entire length it is accompanied by a row of evergreen holm oaks (Quercus ilex), which must be a century old.

Please indulge me, as many of you will not find this at all interesting and there are lots of pictures! But I have considered it a sort of journey of exploration, like the search for the source of the Nile… Continue Reading »

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Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) beside the Wharf in July – in the past this plant has been used to treat dysentery

We have had hot sun and no rain for many weeks now, but we had very light, refreshing rain during the one lunchtime I walked around the Wharf next to County Hall this month – on July 4.

I hadn’t looked for a while and was amazed and delighted by the unusual colourful wild flowers I found near the water’s edge. Most of the little wild plants like groundsel, chickweed, goose grass and nettles had shrivelled in the drought – or in the case of those around the building-site hoardings, been sprayed with weedkiller. Continue Reading »

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Great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus) and young ones on the Wharf on July 4 – can you see the striped neck of the second offspring riding on its mother’s back?

The water birds are a constant delight on the Wharf next to my office in County Hall, Cardiff, and at the moment they have juveniles with them. I missed most of the very small baby birds as they are growing up so fast… Continue Reading »

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Linden flowers on the tree beside the Wharf in July

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It’s mid July and here in Cardiff many of us are hoping for some rain for the garden and cooler days and nights so that we can catch up on our sleep. We have had hot and dry weather for weeks now, with temperatures hitting 32 degrees Celsius, and we are not used to it.

On the day I walked beside the Wharf (old Bute East Dock) to visit the linden tree (Tilia) it was the only overcast day we have had in ages – and we even had some very light rain that lunchtime.

I think I must have missed most of the flowers, which have opened and disappeared since my last visit a month ago. But I did manage to spot a few. Continue Reading »

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Fresh cone-like female catkins of alder (Alnus glutinosa) beside the water in early July

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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.

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

Here in Cardiff we have had several weeks of very hot, dry weather, sometimes reaching 30 degrees Celsius or more – unusual for Wales. I wonder what the weather is like in your part of the world… Continue Reading »

Here is another 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.

Climate change is wiping out Africa’s ‘tree of life’

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Baobab trees are a scientific wonder, once capable of living for thousands of years, but now becoming an endangered species, fears the Guardian…

Mystery of Poland’s ‘Crooked Forest’

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Deep in the woods of the West Pomerania region of Poland, an entire section of trees bends at sharp angles near their bases, forming an odd and entrancing phenomenon, reports Science Alert…

Continue Reading »

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Buds of linden, June 5, 2018

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It’s mid June and here in Cardiff the weather is living up to its summer promise, with many scorching-hot sunny days. But there is still a cooling north-easterly wind most days as I walk beside the Wharf (old Bute East Dock). And all at once the linden tree (Tilia) I am following is full of green flower buds.

Actually I thought they were the fruits, but as this tree seems to be running later than others I have seen, the flower buds have yet to open and the fruits will come later. I hope so, or else I have completely missed them!

To paraphrase Wikipedia, the small yellow-green hermaphrodite flowers of Tilia cordata are produced in clusters of five to 11 in early summer with a leafy yellow-green subtending bract and have a rich, heavy scent; the trees are much visited by bees to the erect flowers, held above the bract; this arrangement is different from that of the common lime Tilia × europaea where the flowers are held beneath the bract. Continue Reading »