Saturday, December 31, 2005

Site adjustments

The quiet season for photographing (British) wild flowers etc so the site has had a makeover. Many new ways to browse the images - a necessity because there are now 750 separate species to see !

Saturday, November 05, 2005

It's fungus time

Walks continue but not many (new) flowers to photograph / identify. But the rains have brought out some fascinating fungi. Very hard to identify though. And interestingly the culture of serious mycologists is still very much based on taking it home - something I prefer not to do, leaving them unchanged by my attention.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Gems close to home

We have walked parts of the "Strawberry Line" disused railway path from Yatton to Cheddar several times in the past but somehow never the section between Winscombe and Cheddar - which includes Shute Shelve tunnel. I always know it was there - was even conscious of it driving very near on the nearby A road. My explorations of the Mendips have come near from both directions several times.

This is a very worthwhile walk from all sorts of points of view and it was good to see so many locals making use of it on an ordinary October day last week. Botanically it is clearly very rich - with a few gems for me to pick up this late and clear signs of many others for the main summer months.

The tunnel is surprisingly eerie on the first walk through alone - for one thing it is deceptively long - you enter thinking you will be out in a trice but actually it gets quite spooky half way with a lot more steps to go...

There was a lovely Liverwort (?) at the north portal - just oozing moisture. I must learn more about them.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Little change

The garden needs attention. The cat died (RIP Panda - a life of luxury repaid with affection, aged 15 and half). So no searches for wild flowers for a while.

Which leaves some Pellitory-of-the-wall I uprooted from a gravel area but then thought "what's this" and Bilbao Fleabane (of all things) noticed on the walk for the paper one morning. I will get out into the countryside soon but there won't be a lot to photograph anyway in this season...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A beach in Ireland

No updates on the site for a while - in Ireland - and I spent a windy, wet morning on a beach near Roscarbery looking for Sea Pea - reported there in 1999. No sign - but Atriplex on the shoreline and Sea Holly past its best further up (will appear on the site when I get the pictures done).

Clearly a site to revisit next June / July if possible.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Autumn Squill

Some of the most rewarding flowers are to be found in spring or (early) autumn (IMHO). Scilla autumnalis made the 70 mile trip to Brixham quite worthwhile (and I got Goldilocks Aster as well - very local near here I am told but I've never found it).

The Scilla is a beautiful little gem that grows abundantly on the cliff tops of the area - and apparently its spring flowering cousin should be there next spring.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Changes afoot

As the busy season of flower finding / identification / photographing comes to an end it's time to review the site - it's a lot larger now than a year ago and some changes are needed.

The Indexes need some thought and it probably doesn't make sense any more that non-vascular famnilies are mixed in with the "main ones of interest" in the family index for instance.

On that subject i have reached 96 of 126 vascular plant familes (native to UK) represented on the site. Must review the chances of getting a representative of the remaining 30 !

Monday, August 29, 2005

It's great to get help from the experts

And this is happening increasingly with FloralImages. Inevitably I make mistakes in identifying flowers - despite my best efforts to educate myself in this area. The comments I get from real experts could not be more courteous and helpful. It all contributes, I hope, to making FloralImages even more useful !

Recently my Burren pictures have been rendered much more accurate thanks to
Dr C Nelson.

Friday, August 26, 2005

An English Country Garden

I'm always happy when other sites link - and Jenny Bailey has brought her excellent site to my notice in this way. As she says it's amazing what you find when you start looking at what is growing wild on your patch.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Another Blog

Michael Peverett spends much more time putting his thoughts into his blog than I do - many of them botanical based on walking and observing at the other end of the Mendips from me. It's well worth a visit for images of primrose variants and musings on why some Dwarf Thistles have stemmed flowers (something I discovered this year as well).

My only update this week was from Uphill - nothing new but some improved pictures including Felwort (Autumn Gentian) in sun - better rendition of the actual colour of the flowers which is interesting - I worked hard to get the cloudy white balance right for the previous set of pictures taken a fortnight before. Also interesting that the plants were hardly flowering any more than previously - despite two weeks of sun with some rain.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Autumn again

Autumn Lady's-tresses is another plant that gets a bit ahead of its name. But it was only just out at Uphill today and there were more plants not yet ready to flower.

It would be easy to miss and there were not a huge number in only one small corner of the reserve (that I found).

Then walking back over the hill past Uphill old church (a very frequented recreational area) I bumped into another spike.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Autumn Gentian

Common names of plants seem to move the seasons forward. I found "Autumn Gentian" yesterday - the height of UK summer. Similarly "Summer Snowflake" flowers long before you could possibly call it summer...

But the Autumn Gentian is a classy plant - well worth the search. It seems to be an aristocratic plant family.

Sunday, July 31, 2005


This plant has always fascinated me since learning about it for biology "o-level". I've hardly ever seen it though.

Certainly the Common Dodder of the UK is easily missed. At first I had stopped to investigate a Dwarf Thistle with a stemmed flower (some do have this) but realised after a while there were reddish threads growing around it. The flowers need full magnification on my macro lens and the pictures reveal the special feature of this relative of bindweed - no chlorophyll. It's a simple adaption really - if you are going to hold yourself up by winding around other plants why not tap into them for nourishment !

Friday, July 08, 2005

Guest images

It is nice to get offers of pictures to include on the site, although I didn't set out thinking it would develop this way.

Particularly if it opens up a part of the world few of us know botanically. So the latest new pictures from Rimantas Pankevičius in Lithuania are very welcome. All but one of the images he has sent me can be found growing in the UK.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Braunton Burrows

What an amazing habitat. I was there for the BSBI meeting on Saturday. A bit of a distance from here which is why I hadn't been before but I will be going again.

The Warden, John Breeds, emphasised the problems they face preventing invasion by scrub but actually the message of one's eyes was "keep up the good work".

Twenty new native species for the website and my first BSBI meeting. A very impressive organisation I feel I hardly merit association with yet.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Getting the picture

Now the site is up to date it is time to reflect on what is now there.

The Kerry Lily had always intrigued me - only lives in one part of Kerry and reportedly a really worthwhile member of a very beautiful family (the Liliaceae).

I realised we would be in the Ireland at about the right time this year and, what is more, on the way to the Burren, making the location a minor detour.

So we found our way to the end of Lamb's Head (tricky when the road seems to take you other ways - the routes to houses along the way being more used) and I climbed up onto the headland.

Not much sign of the Lily at first. Then I spotted a flowering spike - no flowers open. Soon found that the plants were everywhere around me (about 30m up) but not much sign of the actual flower yet. Too early ?

Eventually after several passes along the linear rock formations I saw a flower and spent the next few minutes photographing it.

No more flowers were apparent on the head so we set off for Derrynane nearby where more were found. But even if the solitary flower on Lamb's Head had been the sum total it would have been worth it.

Seven days later we heard that the Ring of Kerry roadworks nearby had been stopped because the flower had been found near to the road.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Getting there

Nearly done getting the Burren pictures post-processed and on the site.

We had only one really sunny day (the last) and a great bit of luck the day before to have the sun come out briefly just when some flowering Spring Gentian had been found. I saw one unfurl its petals through my viewfinder - awesome.

So the pictures so far posted are the soggy ones (eg Healianthemum closed in the rain). The best very definitly to come.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Log Jam

Going away for nearly three weeks - to hunt flowers at least partly - inevitably leads to a log jam. The site will be updated soon with Kerry Lily and much more !

Friday, May 20, 2005


It's always nice to stumble on something when least expecting it. Reports of this on a roadside have had be driving slowly along said stretch at intervals all this spring but not a sign. In fact all the indications that someone has replaced them with 'lovely' daffodil mutants...

But a walk in Berrow dunes (quite a short one and far too much golf being played to really explore...) yielded this among six other true native not yet captured for FloralImages.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

And not forgetting Cheddar Wood

I had to get a permit for this. Not great numbers of rare plants but one absolute gem that is a speciality of Mendip woodland (Purple Gromwell) and just a great place to spend a day looking and enjoying the fantastic atmosphere and swaths of Wild Garlic, Euphorbia and much more.

It's one of our best preserved "ancient woodlands" - not untouched by man at all - but not interfered with since the modern mechanised era dawned. In fact it was regularly coppiced up until 1017 it is thought.

Permit required - it's a Somerset Wildlife Trust reserve.

The busy time is here, Honewort

Had to find this - I've read so much about it and it's local to here and South Devon (only) in the UK.

Amazing little plant - quite the most interesting Umbellifer I have found so far !

Turns out it must almost certainly have grown where my house is - before the Victorian tennis court that pre-dated development.

Sunday, May 08, 2005


It's just nice to be out somewhere like this at this time of year. Nothing spectacular found by me but a very varied flora already - but mostly vegetative as yet, of course.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Don't forget your doorstep

It's a truism isn't it that we all tend to ignore what is local. I only got round to the sights of London years ago (living there then) when my cousin came to stay for instance.

Same with nature reserves.
Uphill has some superb reserves as I confirmed last week. I had been before but not looking seriously and not at such a good time. Timing ? Mainly that I wanted a walk close to home for a variety of insignificant reasons.

Then a quick stroll from the house to get Horse Chestnut flowers turned up
Black Poplar hybrid and a nice ornamental oak also in flower...

Friday, April 22, 2005

Mostly Old Favourites

Nothing spectacular photographed this week - but several instances of something I missed the best period for last year and have now improved on - eg Lords and Ladies. These I think are only properly open for a very short time each. Need to be caught at the right time.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Driving round the country

Just the time for the Leucojum aestivum on the River Loddon and also for Pasqueflowers in Gloucestershire. So down the M4 to Reading, long walks on the wrong banks (initially) of the Lodden and then finally some good photographing of the local wild population of these native British flowers.

The "wrong banks" were spoilt by huge works I think for the benefit of fishermen - grrr....

A quick sarnie in the car and off to a site north of Cirencester for Pasqueflowers. Well worth it but this is not my style. I much prefer to drive to somewhere I know better and which is closer to home and spend most of the day in botanical searches - or even just enjoying being out and up on the hills etc.

Another rant - aren't the garden forms of Narcissus in all their gaudiness destroying our springtime road verges ? No problem when they are a massed, subdued variety of course - try the old bit of the "M4" (whatever it now is called) between the old Severn Bridge and Magor.

Friday, April 08, 2005


The season is definitely under way now, and with a much more informed strategy, new species gathering thick and fast.

Mousetail is now pretty rare on a UK wide basis but still has a "stronghold" in West Sedge Moor in Somerset. I found it after walking along one of the main droves a mile or so, but even prepared in a way for what to look for it took a while to spot - very easily confused with grass at a distance but far from similar close up.

Smaller than I imagined and a plant with a delicate beauty. It seems to depend here on "big tractors" to make the mud ridges that form its habitat. I don't like this as a strategy for survival - who knows what the next agricultural developments will be in an area like this and will they suit ?

West Sedge Moor is a peaceful haven to enjoy for it's own tranquil beauty - even at this time of year. Was that a pair of skylarks I heard and enjoyed watching tumbling this early ?

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Dawlish Warren

This is the time of year for the Sand Crocus - which grows only in Dawlish Warren in the UK (a few other sites have existed but currently thought extinct at them). It is common in Tunisia though so at its northern extreme in sunny Dawlish.

It's a place well worth a visit in any case and a sunny day (the flowers open only in sun) at the end of March begining of April is the time for Sand Crocus or Romulea columnae. While walking around we found several other early flowers and lots of signs for more to cdome.

I visited with David Fenwick - see his site for more great flower pictures.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Ouch !

Finally sorted out the database so that the "free text" bits are spell-check-able. AND arranged for spellcheck of Latin against the BSBI database.

A lot of mistakes have been revealed and corrected. Apologies to any site-visitors who were annoyed at the level of typos etc. We strive to improve.

Friday, March 25, 2005


... and variants of species / sub-species. I tend to the view that what is important is the species and the selected forms of the gardener no more than specially chosen examples. (This is oversimplifying of course - many garden daffodils / roses etc are very distant from their wild ancestors genetically.)
The site is now modified to deal with these consistently I hope. Main indexes list species / sub-species but there is now a
Variant / Cultivar index as well.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Surprises in the garden

My garden may be rather untidy but it does support a wide range of interesting plants that "just happen".

Latest discovery is Scilla bifolia, hidden among daffodils and snowdrops that pre-date my time here.

Might have been introduced with the bulbs I suppose.

Other gems include
Ivy Broomrape and the various species that have colonised the walls.

Friday, March 18, 2005


Anyone might notice a male Yew flowering - quite a show en masse even - but you only get to see the female flowers if you look for them. Which trees to look on ? The clue is in the old decaying berries from last year.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Leucojum flowering times

The plot thickens. I think the two sub-species of L. aestivum differ quite significantly in this parameter. Books like Stace don't commit on flowering time...

Friday, March 11, 2005

Spring just round the corner

But only apparent as Bluebell shoots and Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage in Long Wood. The recent cold has kept pretty much everything on hold in the garden as well. We have a cold weekend forecast but hopefully after that...

Oh - and Scarlet Cups (fungus) were brilliant in Long Wood.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

It's been cold

So no obvious botanical walks to do. We climbed Brent Knoll on a superb day visibility wise; enjoyed the view at the top (if not the icy wind) and, lo and behold, coming back down round the south side found a sheltered pocket where the road verge had Sweet Violet and Celandine in profusion. The Celandines were probably a large-flowered sub-species but it was too early to check the distinguishing features for certain.

Friday, February 25, 2005

What computer do I use ?

The Nikon Capture software I like using for initial processing of my images has just got a whole lot slower with the latest version upgrade so I had to consider a new computer.

I chose a Dell. It's a great computer (I think) but I note the facts below as they might be of interest to those contemplating a similar purchase.

I ordered the computer on line with two hard drives (lots of images to store) on 8th Feb.
Got an email receipt telling me to expect an order number within 72 hours.

On Mon 14th Feb I thought this "72 hours" was a bit overdue and phoned to enquire. I was told the order had been cancelled by the system - I hit the roof and was told it had been re-instated. Big mistake.

I never did get the order number by email but, after several increasingly fraught phone calls to Dell, I did get the computer on 21st Feb with the second hard drive not fitted but in a separate box. Next day I got a delivery note in the post listing the second hard drive as a "kit".

I was quite OK with this, if a little miffed, so eventually I got the case open (no instructions for this provided) and found there is a bay for the drive - there is even a power connector available - but no connector cable for the mother board in either consignment box.

A week was spent in fruitless phone calls to "Customer Service" and in sending emails requests via the site which got me nowhere.

Eventually today (25th Feb) I did get to speak to a nice Dell engineer who was as baffled as me at what I had been sent but confirmed that it was all as it should be according to the parts lists he had. He is, he tells me, sending a cable. His boss would not authorise an engineer to come and fit the drive (I have 3 Yr next day warranty service - or at least thought I had.)

All I can say and avoid being sued is that I feel sad about all this.

26th Feb 2005

In all fairness I should update. Latish yesterday I got a phone call from a very helpful young Irishwoman who agreed that I didn't seem to have been treated right and offered me the delivery charge to be refunded. As this now gets me back to about where I would be if I had bought the second drive as a self-fit part I am, if not exactly satisfied, at least able to go forward. She was also able to confirm I would be gettng the cable I need on Monday - we shall see !

6th March 2005

Fairness to Dell - they make good computers and you can spec to your desires. I'm happy with it now. But they are completely let down by customer service (particularly the difficulty to escalate to someone who can do anything).

Friday, February 18, 2005

A quiet week

No new flower images this week, although I am about to go out and check local Yew Trees for their tiny flowers which are due at this time of year.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Leucojum vernum

Found it on second visit to the area - right at the edge of the expected square. If it is a true native (or even if not) really some more effort should be made to help it become common again... (Meanwhile cultivated daffodils and snowdrops are appearing everywhere.)

Monday, February 07, 2005

Bad blogger

A lot has changed without my recording it here. The gallery now randomises every time I re-build the site - so frequent visitors get a different mix every time and new classifications / indexes have been added - trees, ferns etc.