Crows nest in the wood opposite our house but this year a pair choose one of the oak trees in our communal garden. From our back bedroom window I can see them building their nest as the leaves aren’t properly out. That nest soon disappears into the green. There’s not much evidence of them, or […]

A male Kingfisher is sitting on a fence post, preening in the early morning sun, until something in the water below catches his attention. After bobbing his head a couple of times, he slices through the lake surface and emerges with a silvery prize. A squadron of Swifts skim across the water’s surface, calculating their […]

I’m just back from a week in Wales and the excitement of seeing unfamiliar plants was almost too much to bear. On a pavement plant walk around the fishing town of New Quay (no, not that one!), I found this Rock Sea-spurrey with gorgeous pink flowers and unbelievable sticky glandular hairs which meant the whole […]

I have time for a couple of hours of pavement plant hunting before I catch my train back from Cardiff to Paddington. Common Limes line the west side of the Taff Embankment and many of them have a mini-ecosystem of lichens, mosses, ferns and other plants thriving on the river-facing side of the main trunk. […]

A sixteen-year-old’s birthday is not the obvious occasion for botanizing, but the celebration a week ago started with a family feast on the edge of a meadow in East Sussex. After what I thought was a decent amount of chatting, I drifted subtly across to the long grass. There were beautiful candy-pink flowers of Grass […]

It’s one of those days when I can’t really settle to anything; much better to stop trying and set off on an adventure. I’ve been planning to visit Beddington Farmland nature reserve in Sutton for a few weeks now. Hackbridge is a rather soul-less and traffic-busy place but, as I leave the main road for […]

If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I spend a lot of time getting excited about pavement plants in suburban south London. Earlier this year, I wrote this article about urban plant hunting for Resurgence & Ecologist magazine. I heard recently that, after reading my article, a teacher has started taking her class out […]

I’m so enjoying writing this series and hoping it will help encourage people teetering on the edge of birding to take the plunge. The next instalment, about bird-listening in parks, is due to be published in August.

So this is how the story goes… In September 2020 I sent this photo to my Ward Councillor, Cllr Catherine Rose, who is also the Environment lead for Southwark Council. It shows what a triangle of verge near our house looked like after after Southwark contractors mowed it in August 2020. I said I thought […]

Coombe Lane tram stop in Croydon is not the most obvious place to stop and look at plants but, I do, and I’m rewarded by finding what I’m pretty sure are Wood Melick and the Wood Millet which is pictured here. Close up the Wood Millet flowers are achingly beautiful, with each of the anthers […]