Diary 2010 and 2011

January 1st 2011

Starting a new year I need to put a new plant onto the site. Ideally a plant with spectacular or unusual flowers and one which photographed well. I've chosen Petrophile glauca out of sequence since I'm actually redesigning pages alphabetically and have only got to M. This shrub like so many from western Australia is jaw droppingly amazing with unusual flowers and leaves too.

December 31st

We are enjoying a brief period of mild weather as the year comes to an end. During December the lowest temperatures in the British Isles have been setting records with minus 20 quoted on more than one occasion. For continental United States or Canada this is not extreme but our little archipelago is warmed by the Gulf Stream and kept moist usually by south easterly winds. Our usual winter weather is steely grey skies and cold rain with only a bit of snow. Here in Cheshire where snow has missed us completely in most decades both this winter and last it has remained frozen and icy for days rendering all the vegetation brown dead and deeply hibernating. The lowest temperature was a mere minus 12 Celsius but remained below freezing for days.

November 25th

Almost up to date with additions and insertion A to L on modernised pages (with proper navigation at the top) and have finished the major task of altering the names on the plant list in lime with those in New Flora of the British Isles edition 3 by Clive Stace. This is my (arbitrary) reference point for the correct naming of plants because databases like IPNI and even the much better Tela Botanica are inconsistent.

The plant list is here: WFS plant list for the UK

I did think of putting it on this site too but it relates only to plants inn the British Isles and since nearly half of all plants on this site are not found in the UK it wouldn't apply to them.

October 18th

Very little has been added recently as I've been tackling the major task of changing the names of wild flowers according to Clive Stace's book, New Flora of the British Isles (Edition 3). This list of about 7,000 plants is currently on the Wild Flower Society web site but the alterations won't be available until November probably as there are over 400.

July 22nd

I've reluctantly started to re-structure the site as the editor use (Dreamweaver) can't cope with large folders of images. It freezes when I go into the Web photos folder and I have to wait ten seconds before I can work again. This doesn't happen with the smaller sized folders even if they have the same number of files (over 2,000). I've contacted Adobe about this and they give loads of excuses about the configuration of my computer which is very fast. Of course file structure is usually invisible to the user and shouldn't ever affect normal use. It won't affect people who just look at the photos on the web pages but it will affect people who have linked to a page which is then stored in their cache. The old cached page will (eventually) try to link with non existent photo folders.

July 15th

Back from the Engadine region of the Swiss Alps where we saw more than 200 flowering species and I photographed over 100 "lifers" as well as over 50 plants which are British alpines already included on the British plants site. The European list continues to grow and there are nearly 400 plants waiting to be added to the site which will take years.

July 3rd

There will be no further additions until after July 13th.

June 12th

The restructuring of the Butterfly and Moths pages is finished. At first there were only twenty or so pages and species but in the last year or two it has grown so that there are 58 species illustrated by 65 pages with 21 pages relating to 17 new species yet to be added. The old thumbnail indexes have been deleted and replaced by expandable (Highslide) thumbnail indexes. The text only indexes which load quickly are retained. As with plants any butterfly or moth which is seen in the UK is put on a separate page from the same species seen in Europe so many, like Small Heath and Wall Brown, are duplicated. As with other thumbnail indexes there is no significance to the blank spaces - it just helps me to fill in new species.

May 24th

Just come back from Rhodes where the flora was quite unfamiliar and I'm still struggling to identify positively some of the flowers which which were quite common on the island.

April 21st

Clive Stace has just published the third edition of his New Flora of the British Isles. There are many changes to rarity status of the flowers on the site plus some name changes. I will start by checking all names and status in alphabetical order which is about two month's work at least.

April 12th

Spring is here. The daffodils are in full bloom and a few are now going over but the roadside verges where these have been planted in thousands look wonderful. In spite of winter lasting into March with snowfall of 40 cm in Inverness, Scotland only three weeks ago, the temperature in that part of Britain reached 20 Celsius yesterday. A first botanical foray into Cambridgeshire produced quite a puzzle: most of what I thought were Oxlips (Primula elatior) were actually hybrid species as back crossing with both parents occurs.

March 10th

Here we are two months later and what seems like a record cold winter still upon us here in northern Britain. Snowdrops and Aconites are still in flower and the first garden daffodil (of many hundreds) has yet to produce anything other than a tight bud. Most morning we wake up to a ground frost although the sun is often shining too. The air temperature has stayed below 10 Celsius for months now.

I have started the long process of adding extra navigation to the site as well as adding many of the library photos collected in the past years. Under letters A and B (so far) you can now move directly to the next plant in alphabetical order on the site without retuning to an index (as before) but in addition using the green, red or purple arrows move exclusively between plants photographed in Britain, Australia and Europe.

There are 2,147 plants on site now with another 420 waiting to be added.

January 10th

After a furious first part of December 2009 when 45 new plants were added to the site, I stopped in order to prepare my first Powerpoint talk based around digital photos with a laptop connected to a new digital projector. Eventually the talk was complete with hyperlinks to various sections including a Firefox gallery of expandable photos but the arctic weather closed in to most of Great Britain and the whole thing was cancelled just after I had completed two successful rehearsals. So I now have a one hour illustrated talk on the Wild Orchids of Great Britain and Europe all prepared with nowhere to go. I'm sure it'll find a place somewhere when the weather gets a bit better.

As part of the talk I've had to investigate the correct naming of European Orchids and a bigger taxonomic dog's breakfast you will rarely see in any other sphere of the classification of living things. There is simply no agreement between some quite distinguished authorities such as World Checklist, Kew and Pierre Delforge so different names proliferate for the same plant, particularly the Bee Orchids - exactly the opposite of the intention behind systematic naming. Poor old Carl Linnaeus will be turning in his grave. We might as well stick to the common English names but of course not all plants have them.

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