Category Sunday nature worship

12th April 2021 – A strange kind of beauty

“Mum, can I come?” Words which are always a lovely surprise. After negotiating a mix of walking and plant-hunting, we set off in warm sun and arrive at the Woodland Trust site near Biggin Hill as it is starting to cloud over. It rarely happens, but on this occasion the botanical treat was growing right […]

27th December 2020 – shoelace worms and our native humming bird

We’re proud of ourselves setting off in the tail-end of Storm Bella, and in very little time we are soaked but jogging just fast enough to keep warm. It’s crunchy under foot again, not from leaves this time but all the lichen daubed twigs decorating the pavements. On our way back we cut through the […]

20th December 2020 – the blooming East Sussex coast

I really do love trees but seeing that the forecast for Thursday was spectacularly good on the coast, the thought of seeing some colour was more than I could resist. Following the advice from a friendly Sussex botanist I set off east from Brighton pier and tracked the top of the chalk cliffs as far […]

13th December 2020 – from skylarks to campions on a whale’s back

The landscape of Kipling’s “whale-backed” South Downs causes mixed emotions. On the one hand there’s the relief of rolling green hills after weeks of walking the London suburbs. On the other hand, the vast featureless flinty fields are a depressing reminder of the desperate and precarious state of British farming. A state that’s likely to […]

6th December 2020 – a really really big foxglove…

I’ve been distracting myself from short gloomy days with trees. Today I go back to visit my favourite tree in Gipsy Hill, this Foxglove-tree, Paulownia tormentosa. Why do I care about this tree? Well, it’s next to an Indian Bean Tree, Catalpa bignonioides, and both the London Tree Map ( and the Tree Talk map […]

29th November – marsh harrier hulking in spindly tree…

Opalescent light across the estuary at Rainham marshes as the fog lifts. My good friend Sophie’s a welcome change from lone excursions; we chat & look, flipping from plants to birds & back. In a spindly tree, a marsh harrier hulks, then lifts on oblong wings. A second tracks the line of pylons. High above, […]

22nd November 2020 – a confusion of fumitories

Today I’ve treated myself to a visit to Kew Gardens and I’m exploring the plants and a variety of weeds round the evolution garden despite the unremitting drizzle. The delicate pale pink and crimson flower spike of a fumitory catches my eye in a corner of rough grass and I inwardly groan. The difficulties of […]

15th November – sun-brushed reeds on Rainham marshes

Breathe deeply, all quiet, big open space, sun-brushed reeds. Well almost quiet, if I ignore the high speed trains belting past and the clanging of a bulldozer echoing across the estuary. The volunteer on the gate of Rainham marshes reserve was apologetic about the one way system in operation but it means I barely see […]

8th November 2020 – not just any red berries

It’s almost impossible to ignore trees at this time of year, not that you’d want to I imagine. But as well as enjoying the autumn colour, I’m taking time to notice the unfamiliar trees in the estate where I live and in our local park. I’ve walked past this one just behind our house almost […]

1st November 2020 – the sedges aren’t bothered

Maybe I’m obsessing a bit about sedges and rushes at the moment but I risk a trip in half-term to the London Wetland Centre to see what else I can find. I have to fight my way through families to escape into the quieter Wildside where I find what I think are the last few […]