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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]