Diary 2012

December 6th 2012

Weather is now truly winter with night time temperatures around or below zero here in the U.K. Daytime in double figures is a rarity. Still I've delivered a talk on Alpines and will give an illustrated quiz to our local society later this month. Having spent all these years acquiring photos of plants it is quite easy for me to put together talks which include a few birds, butterflies, other creatures and scenery. What they like most of course is that I don't charge a fee.

Sept 25th 2012

I've placed one or two new pages uploaded from Australia but the connection is only slightly faster than the old dial-up connections of yesteryear. We've mostly stayed in the far south west (Manjimup) where the weather is quite cold particularly at night. But we made two trips to other parts and I've collected new photos of plants from Shark Bay, Kalbarri and Mount Lesueur National Parks and from the Stirling Range. About eighty new plants have so far been identified. We should be back on Friday 28th Sept having left home on July 31st.

July 30th 2012

The site may remain paralysed because we are very soon flying to Western Australia and staying there until late September and we're not sure whether we will get a good enough connection to do web site editing. Please don't send id requests etc. until October because I won't have access to my plant photo library or any British flower books.

June 28th 2012

We have just returned from a week's holiday in Andorra where the bad weather in the earlier part of the year had left many early plants unexpectedly in flower. Plenty of Narcissus poeticus for example. As usual in the mountains of Europe the views were stunning and the uplands were covered in alpine flowers such as Pulsatilla alpina ssp alpiifolia (Alpine Pasque flower) and Anemone narcissiflora (Narcissus-flowered Anemone). I've added and extra 52 plants to the European library so that the total number of plants photographed in Europe is now close to 1,000 although quite a few of those are common in the British Isles too.

The alternate very wet weather and sunny humid spells continue in central Britain and our pond, dried up over ten years ago because of the falling water table has had water in it for most of 2012. The Dactylorhiza fuchsii ( Common Spotted Orchid) patch has flowered with over 60 spikes counted so far.

June 4th 2012

June weather is mixed so far with very hot days (25 Celsius) and cold ones (9 Celsius) within 48 hours of each other and weather forecasters still warning of ground frost in some places - ridiculous! On the site I have now updated all the Latin names of plants found in the British Isles to the standard taxonomy in New Flora of the British Isles Edition 3 Reprint 1 (2010) by Clive Stace with just a few changes to be added from Reprint 2 such as Salix x fragilis (Crack Willow) for Salix fragilis. Crack willow is now Salix euxina and is actually uncommon. Most of what we see is really the hybrid between Salix euxina and Salix alba which is still known as Crack Willow (Salix x fragilis). Hard to keep up.

I hope to find another collection of European alpines from Andorra when we travel there in June.

People keep asking me to make a colour index which will help those who know very few English and hardly any Latin names. I will start planning this but it will take ages to do.


May 11th 2012

After record breaking April rains which arrived shortly after the alarming maps of drought ridden counties were being shown on TV, we perhaps expected a warmer May. No such luck. The rain and changeable weather has continued and today in Chee Dale the temperature was just 6 Celsius. Plants which were well on their way in March stopped in April. Although the Cressbrookdale Cowslips and Wood Anemones are out there are virtually no Early Purple Orchids to be seen and the Wall Whitlowgrass (Draba muralis) is still in flower.

I have now finished publishing all 335 of the definite identifications of plants seen in Australia in 2007 - it only took five years. In August we are flying out to Western Australia again so I'm hoping for another bumper collection of photos to keep the Australian section going for another five years.

March 28th 2012

We are experiencing another dry Spring with temperatures in the 20s Celsius and in Scotland records have been set with records at 23.6 Celsius in Aberdeenshire. The fruiting Cherry trees are out and the pink flowering Cherry which usually flowers in late April is already in bud. In the garden 50 shoots of Dactylorhiza fuchsii (Common Spotted Orchid) have sprouted (47 last year) . There were four on March 10th which seems to me to be very early for a plant which flowers in June. Elsewhere in England, there is a drought which affects the south east and now Yorkshire - no sign of rain at all.

Still that climate change thing - it's all gubmint lies innit?

February 1st 2012

We are in the middle of our first extended cold snap where the temperature goes just below freezing at night and stays at about 3 Celsius during the day. Nevertheless the early spring flowers and summer "hangers on" are still to be found. We found a good clump of Silene dioica (Red Campion) in proper flower and even a rather sad looking Lapsana communis ssp communis (Nipplewort) is growing locally. In mid January I went to see how many flowering plants there were and counted 55 including Centaurea nigra (Knapweed) and Poa trivialis (Rough Meadow-grass).

January 1st 2012

We in the north west of England have had only one cold spell this winter when the snow lay for about 3 days and the temperature went down to perhaps minus 3 Celsius but nothing like last winter's lows of minus 12 Celsius so far. Such mild weather overall means that some summer plants are still flowering. Nipplewort (Lapsana communis) for instance still has the odd flower on it. Early spring flowers are being reported regularly with early daffodils already out in some gardens but not yet in quantity. The Gorse (Ulex europaeaus) has been in flower for some time but some bushes are now covered in blooms. Again this is usually an early flowering shrub but this year there is much more of it in flower.

Still time for a cold snap though although temperatures to day rose to 12 Celsius.

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