Diary 2008

December 23rd

Highslide indexes of all species are now on site for indexes A to B and C to D. This means you can browse through these thumbnail indexes looking at the full photo and/or click on the name to see the original page and comments.

December 17th

Many pages have now been reviewed so that A to D is now complete. This means you can move from any species to the next or the previous in Latin Index order without returning to a main index. This should make browsing easier.

I swore I would never use java script because of the complexities it brings to maintenance but I have relented. There are two indexes for butterflies which use this. Just click on the thumbnail and a magnified image is produced which will reduce back on click or can be moved to one side.

You can cycle through all the photos just by using the forward and back arrows on the keyboard. The images just have name and place but you can still click on the name (not the thumbnail) and get to the proper page as before and this also allows you to cycle through the main pages this time using the arrows on the top navigation bar. Very addictive.

HOWEVER there is no error trapping routine for people who have scripts turned off in their browsers (IE7 for instance). If scripts aren't enabled then it all goes wrong but the old indexes are still there as before.

November 7th

You can go from page to page in letter A and B (Latin Index order of Plants only) but butterflies/moths can be accessed separately in alphabetical order of either English or Latin name by clicking on the left or right arrows. Access these pages only from the Butterflies text sub index.

November 1st

Ever since someone asked me a few years ago I've been trying to think of a way of allowing users to scroll easily through photos of flowers, each of which are separate web pages, without having to return to a menu. To achieve this each page (there are nearly 1,900 of them) must be reviewed, updated and made to conform with the new navigation system at the top of each page.

This has now been done for all plants whose Latin names begin with A. The small arrows at the end of each navigation row allow the user to go back or forward a page in the alphabetical list of Latin names.

The next task (I'm part way through this will be to review all page beginning with B, add the new "sideways" navigation and make it continuous with the pages before. It will take a long time and in the meantime new pages will still be added but without the "sideways" navigation until that letter has been reviewed. If there are major changes to any page under review such as new and better photos then the page will appear in "This month".

October 3rd

Many of the flowers in Northern Italy at this time of year are quite familiar to a British botanist (which is a bit disappointing really) but using the one opportunity to climb into the limestone hills, I managed to find some quite good plants just hanging on from the summer. Altogether though barely 20 new plants were photographed and identified for a place in the Library. Summer is well over in England now and we are feeling the sharp coolness of Autumn evenings. No frost yet so the bedding dahlias are still flowering in the garden but the only plants looking really happy are the hardy weeds like Cardamine flexuosa (Wavy Bittercress). Still with 445 plant photographs (mostly European and Australian) as yet unpublished and over 200 yet to be identified there's plenty of winter work which will keep the site going.

September 9th

Nothing will happen for at least ten days now as we take an Autumn break in Italy near Lake Como. I've never been to Italy before and am wondering whether there will be flowers such as Meadow Saffron to be seen.

August 26th

It's Spring in Australia now and the flowers will be appearing all over the place. I'm deeply jealous as we approach the end of a wet English summer and would love to be back there in the reserves photographing their stunning wild flowers. In the meantime I'm pushing to publish more Australian flowers from our visit almost one year ago. At present they are going on in alphabetical order of genus name and I'm part way through D! Long Way to go.

July 17th

The Butterfly Index was annoying me because like most people I don't use the systematic (Latin) names to refer to them usually. English indexes of the Butterflies and moths are now included in the secondary indexes page.

June 25th

Having stored up photos of butterflies for some time, I've just added ten new ones to the site mostly from Europe.

June 12th

The two Wild Flower Meetings for the Wild Flower Society I held in North Wales went well but this year there was very little Lloydia serotina (Snowdon Lily) to be seen which was a disappointment. Nevertheless we unexpectedly found several Hawkweeds at Cwm Idwal one of which turns out to be Hieracium carneddorum (The Carnedd Hawkweed) a North Wales endemic and, if Professor Stace had publish rarity values for Hawkweeds would be a RRR.

This means that between Cwm Idwal and the Great Orme both of which we visited the same day there could be nine plants with such rarity that they warrant the RRR rating.

May 8th

After a cold March and a wet and gloomy April the weather has surged straight past Spring into early summer with temperatures today in the 25C region. There are now 1700 plants illustrated on the site as a whole with a considerable queue of European and Australian flowers waiting to be published.

April 5th

Back from Andalucia in Spain after eight days of beautiful weather most temperatures around 20C with clear blue sky and loads of wild flowers. Even the roses were in flower. Plants will be added rather slowly to the site during April as I'm still trying to identify species from the 1,200 photos taken on holiday.

March 25th

No more web site entries until April 2nd .... plant hunting and photography takes precedence!!

March 21st

Passed a landmark in that there are now over 100 Australian plants illustrated on the site but there are over 200 to add and so it's unlikely to be finished in 2008. Meanwhile the European total is gradually increasing with 171 on site but with 176 yet to add. There are also 14 unpublished British plants which I'm keeping to vary the output a bit.

March 7th

This is the first time that I can remember enjoying seven dry days at the beginning of March. The Wild Flower Society has a competition to see what plants we can find in flower during the first week of March and with the weather staying dry I was able to go out every day. A total of 109 flowers were found during that time which is a record for me.

February 14th

We've had some fine days at the beginning of February with temperatures as high as 15 or 16 C. The nesting birds are fooled into thinking winter is over and I've seen two Red Admiral butterflies. On the 12th February I visited Warley Place which was once a house and garden in the 1930s but has been left to its own devices for over 70 years.

The flowers have escaped into the surrounding countryside and provided us with blue Scillas and masses of Daffodils and Crocuses. We saw:

Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrop)

Galanthus plicatus ssp plicatus (Pleated Snowdrop)

Scilla bithynica (Turkish Squill)

Crocus vernus (Spring Crocus)

Ranunculus ficaria (Lesser Celandine)

Narcissus pseudonarcissus (Daffodil)

Ruscus aculateus (Butcher's-broom)

Mahonia aquifolium (Orgeon Grape)

Vinca major var. oxylobar (Periwinkle)

Trachystemon orientalis (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob)

Duchesnea indica (Yellow Stawberry)

Scilla bifolia (Alpine Squill)

Pulmonaria officinalis(Lungwort)

Pentaglottis sempervirens (Green Alkanet)

Symphytum grandiflorum (Creeping Comfrey)

Cymbalaria muralis (Ivy-leaved Toadflax)

Leucojum vernum (Spring Snowflake)

Selaginella kraussiana (Krauss's Clubmoss)

Galanthus elwesii (Greater Snowdrop)

Leucojum aestivum ssp. pulchellum (Summer Snowflake)

Parrotia persica (Persian Ironwood)

Galanthus ikariae ( (Green snowdrop)

Mahonia japonica (Japanese Mahonia)

Viola odorata (Sweet Violet)

Saroccoca confusa (Christmas Box)

all in flower!

January 28th

Those who doubt that flowering seasons are earlier should look at what grows this time of year. Not only are there one or two gardens with both daffodils and snowdrops fully out, the Winter Heliotrope (Petasites fragrans) is all but finished. Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) is no longer an unusual sight in January and as usual I found a plant in full flower in early December 2007.

Perhaps though the indication of how warmer our winters have become is shown not by perennials or bulbs but by annuals and today I found a flowering Veronica hederifolia (Ivy-leaved Speedwell) which I would normally expect to be no more than a germinated seedling with two cotyledons at this time of year.

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