Category Suburban Wild Diaries

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. […]

21st June 2021 – One big “ooooo”, and happy birthday C…

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 […]

10th June 2021 – Reedies and farming past

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 […]

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 […]

5th May 2021 – virtual pavement salad

I entirely understand that, given the number of dogs in London, the idea of actually eating pavement plants probably isn’t that appealing. So today I’m looking for ingredients for a ‘virtual’ pavement salad. I find some Common Cornsalad nestled at the bottom of a wall – its cluster of tiny pale mauve flowers echo the […]

26th April 2021 – poison in the park

It wasn’t long ago that I’d avoid trying to identify a plant in the carrot family – other than Cow Parsley – particularly when it wasn’t in flower. But nothing ventured etc., so here goes…. In Crystal Palace Park, I notice a spray of leaves with a different visual rhythm to familiar Cow Parsley leaves. […]

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 […]