The structure of orchids

We sent DKG, and his macro lens, to look at the common spotted orchids in Village Green.     Orchid flowers appear very variable but are, in fact, all built to a unique but simple pattern. Orchids have three sepals, three petals and a column which contains the reproductive organs. Sepals are the petal-like structures... Continue Reading →

Common spotted orchids

A message from Chris Seymour: "Just wanted to share my photos of the orchids in the country park. I have been waiting for months to see them flower." Thank you, Chris, for such beautiful pictures. These are common spotted orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii); the three deep lobes in the lip of the flower and its spotted... Continue Reading →

An excellent drawing by Jonah, who has noticed that the flowers of native bluebells grow on only one side of the stem; there are seedlings growing next to the parent plant. The dragonfly is probably an emperor dragonfly, one of the few species that becomes a full adult in April when the bluebells are flowering.... Continue Reading →

Ring barking

Ring barking or girdling can kill a tree. It happens when the tree's bark is removed right the way round its trunk. Accidental girdling may be the result of a carelessly used strimmer, or over-tight wires and ties; it might be mammals gnawing on the bark or, in the case of deer, rubbing their antlers... Continue Reading →

Stinking Willie and Marefart

Ragwort has many common names; in fact some, like stinking willie and marefart, are downright vulgar. Both refer to the plant's unpleasant smell. Another set of names, staggerwort, stammerwort and sleepy-dose, are about to its toxicity.  Then there is felon weed, swine grass and our personal favourites: scrog and weeby. To go with its unsavoury nicknames, Ragwort... Continue Reading →

By DKG: "A few photos from a stroll last night, unfortunately the cloud closed in and even a few spots of the wet stuff, very dull and dismal. The Bluebells are situated in the copse  in Brunt's Field; a lovely display this year after the haloing last year. There is no sign of the green... Continue Reading →

Invasion of the Spanish squills

Our native species of bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) is threatened by the spread of Spanish squill (Hyacinthoides hispanica), a similar species imported into our gardens from southern Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries. Our native bluebells are dark blue and fragrant, with flowers on just one side of the stem producing that characteristic droop; the... Continue Reading →

Blackthorn

Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) is the earliest of our native flowering trees.  In late February it is very distinctive: masses of creamy white blossom on bare black branches. Now, in April, the small nondescript leaves are opening and the plant becomes just one of the many spiny and spiked elements in our hedgerows. In the autumn,... Continue Reading →

Sunday Morning in the Park

BY IAN B. Pleasant saunter with Pat and all the hounds this morning round Southwick Country Park.  The long tailed tit’s nest is now finished with a cladding of lichen.     Two reports: a little egret at the pond and a barn owl hunting on Lambrok Meadow but we didn't see either. We looked for the... Continue Reading →

Lesser Celandine

The lesser celandine (Ficaria verna) is the floral equivalent of the swallow, it appears around the same time and marks the coming of spring. In fact the word celandine comes from the Greek name for swallow: chelidon. One of its local names is spring messenger; others are brighteye, butter and cheese, frog's foot, golden guineas... Continue Reading →

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