Some of my recent reading

In January I signed up to the Reading Challenge on Jera’s Jamboree (details here). Shaz was encouraging us to step outside our comfort zone and read books we might not have considered before.

I decided to read something from EVERY category listed and you can see how I am getting on by looking at my blog page here.

Occasionally I intend to do a review. I started with Chris Beckett’s sci-fi Eden trilogy, which you can read about here. This time I am making notes on three classics I have read recently. They are from different genres and “of their time” but each brings vividly to life a society far removed from our own. Continue Reading »


Young leaves of elm in Pontcanna Fields, Cardiff, in late April


The 100 disease-resistant elms, Ulmus ‘New Horizon’, in Pontcanna Fields, Cardiff, are growing greener as spring moves on towards summer and the leaves open out to their full extent.

They are rather delicate leaves at the moment but I expect they will later harden off and turn to a darker colour.

This monthly tree-following visit was on April 28, during a lengthy dry spell with quite cold north-easterly winds. Continue Reading »


Grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) in the garden, nibbling delicate sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) greenery


The monthly tree-following link box has now closed for another month. Please explore everyone’s updates below.

Here in South Wales most of the trees are filling up with leaves, although some are quicker than others.

The horse chestnuts (Aesculus hippocastanum) are already in glorious full bloom as well as full leaf, while the ash trees (Fraxinus excelsior) are only just breaking into delicate leaf after their early wind-pollinated flowers have done their duty.

The oak (Quercus robur) seems to be ahead of the ash, so tradition says we are in for a “splash” this summer, rather than a “soak”. Certainly it has been very dry, cold and sometimes breezy for the last few weeks – no April showers as you would expect.

Why don’t you join us and follow a tree, too? You can start at any time and you don’t have to contribute every month if that’s too big a chore.
If you are new to tree following, read all about it here.

And without further ado, here are those links…

Alison at the Blackberry Garden – quince – after the frosts

Erika Groth in Sweden – rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) – plus a river in full flow and the return of some migratory birds

Hollis (In the Company of Plants and Rocks) – juniper tree on a volcanic “squeeze up” in New Mexico

Welcome to new follower Jozien and her Keeper of Wild Places blog – with soapberry and other plants of Canada’s Yukon region

Mike – Flighty’s Plot – Liz’s tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) and Flighty’s dogwood (Cornus)

Pat – Squirrelbasket – 100 elm trees

Amy in the Sonoran Desert (A Small Sunny Garden) –
Arizona rosewood (Vauquelinia californica)

John Kingdon – The Rivendell Garden Blog – crab apple’s month of acceleration

Frances at Island Threads, off the North West coast of Scotland – rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

Thank you to everyone – see you all again on June 7, and maybe some more newcomers, too!


A very pink red campion (Silene dioica)

When I go to visit “my” 100 elm trees in Pontcanna Fields here in Cardiff, I am always tempted to walk on, cross Blackweir Bridge over the River Taff and keep going until I reach Bute Park and eventually the city centre.

I was last in this wild area in January and blogged about it here. Last week I visited again and the spring wildflowers were wonderful. I also think I found the purple maple tree I failed to locate back in the winter. Continue Reading »


The western entrance to Belle Vue Park, Newport, South East Wales

Before I stopped working in Maesglas, on the western side of Newport, I made sure I visited nearby Belle Vue Park, which opened in 1894 and is a typical Victorian park with a pavilion and bandstand at the centre of wonderful trees, shrubs and Japanese-style plantings. Continue Reading »

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

Thames garden bridge scrapped by Sadiq Khan


Common sense has prevailed over London’s idealistic Garden Bridge plan and £37m of public money must be repaid, says Oliver Wainwright for the Guardian…

Apple buys up all the trees


Apple is buying so many trees for its new campus in California that there aren’t enough for anyone else, says Quartz…

Continue Reading »


A footpath beside the River Ebbw in Maesglas

Here are my pictures from a lovely little lunchtime walk on a sunny April day beside the River Ebbw in Maesglas, on the western side of Newport. For those to whom the spelling looks strange, the letter W is a vowel in Welsh, so Ebbw is pronounced Ebb-oo.

The river’s two main tributaries – Ebbw Fawr (“big”) and Ebbw Fach (“small”) – rise in the Brecon Beacons. I’d better also mention that in Welsh the letter F sounds like the English V! The Fawr flows down the valley headed by Ebbw Vale while the Fach flows down the valley to the east headed by Brynmawr. Continue Reading »