Category Suburban nature

26th July 2021 – Love a crow

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 […]

19th July 2021 – gorging on the birdiest of all birds

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 […]

12th July 2021 – It’s sooo sticky…

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 […]

29th June 2021 – “Tree Wheat” in Cardiff

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. […]

Pavement weeds – article in Mar/Apr 2021 Resurgence & Ecologist magazine

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 […]

24th May 2021 – Top job LB Southwark for #NoMowMay

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 […]

17th May 2021 – achingly beautiful wood millet

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 […]

11th May 2021 – what’re you lookin’ at?

There’s been at least one youth hanging out in our back garden for the last few days. I’m amazed these feisty but fragile-looking bundles of fluff survived last week’s storm. Or perhaps they didn’t and there is a fresh batch of robin fledglings coming to the garden every day. Either way, these young ones already […]

18th April 2021 – Nature-sharing Rue on the Thames Path

There ought to be an expression for the experience of seeing something in nature which delights you but you have no-one at that moment to share it with. That does sound a bit sad, although has more pathos than I’d intended. Would ‘nature-sharing rue’ do it? To be clear, I absolutely love walking and nature-watching […]

9th April 2021 – Wood-rushes in Wandsworth

I haven’t missed pubs, but botanizing in company again feels like an exceptional treat. Today I’m going on a plant hunt in Wandsworth Cemetery with Roy Vickery and a group from the South London Botanical Society. I meet first with Sarah Webley on her patch, Wandsworth Common. This area is new to me and hadn’t […]