Monday, 27 April 2015

Blackleach Country Park

I spent the weekend with my parents down near Bolton and we had a lovely trip to Blackleach Country Park.

The cowslips were at their best

and there were plenty of butterflies about, including this peacock

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Torrs Warren

Still catching up from our trip to Dumfries!

Torrs Warren is a Site of Special Scientific Interest not far from Logan Botanic Gardens so we popped in, after our trip to Logan. Despite its name there were no rabbits (or even evidence of rabbits) to be seen. Nor did we find any of the amphibians that Crafty Green Boyfriend thought we would. In fact we hardly found any pools for amphibians to live in.

What we did find though was a beautiful piece of dune woodland, with a wonderful atmosphere.

We also found, but didn't get the chance to photograph (as it moved too fast) the weird looking red headed carrion beetle (Oiceoptoma thoracicum).

Torrs Warren is on Ministry of Defence land and so is not all accessible to the general public and at certain times (during military training) is closed to the public.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Sea pottery rings

As you may know, I love sea pottery and sea glass and I have a small collection of pieces from across Scotland. Given I'm unlikley to use it all myself, some is on sale in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop.

I've long thought that some of the pieces would make beautiful rings and the other day I bought some ring bases from the local bead supply shop. This photo shows just some of the sea pottery pieces alongside the ring bases...

The first ring turned out quite nicely

and once I'd sorted out a few details I quickly made a few more

several of which are now on sale in the jewellery section of the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop.

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks which take you to other webpages where you can find out more. 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Mabie Forest

Still catching up with our trip to Dumfries and Galloway!

At first we though, maybe we chose the wrong day to go to Mabie Forest. It was the middle of the school holidays and it's a recreational area with mountain bike tracks, so when we arrived it all felt a bit overcrowded and busy. But we soon lost ourselves along one of the quiet footpaths

We met some toads in the pond, who obviously had Spring on their minds!

I really liked seeing the empty beech nut cases against a background of wild garlic

Monday, 20 April 2015

Birdsong and blooms

Colinton Dell was full of the joys of Spring this morning. Everywhere is vibrant with wild garlic

which is just starting to come into flower

in some places unfortunately few flowered leek, which is invasive, is starting to compete with the wild garlic

I find the flowers of few flowered leek to be fascinatingly odd

A possible way to prevent few flowered leek from taking over is to pick it and eat it (though taking care to wash the plant carefully) while leaving the wild garlic.

The first blue bells are in flower now

as are the wood anemones, there's just this one patch of them in Colinton dell, but the patch does seem to be extending

The larch trees are starting to flower too, such lovely flowers, you may remember last year I studied the development of the larch flower as it became a cone. This is the flower today

The birds were singing loudly, specially the wrens. I love atching wrens sing, they put so much energy into their song that their whole body vibrates. Our smallest bird and one of our loudest birdsongs!

For Nature Notes

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more

Sunday, 19 April 2015

A Little Chaos - film review

This is a story of a woman in a man's world, a man's world that happens to be the gardens of Versailles which are being created for King Louis XIV (played in the film by Alan Rickman who also directed it). One of the gardeners is Sabine de Barras (played by Kate Winslet) who stirs things up quite considerably, not only by being a woman and not of noble birth but by having ideas about gardening that are diametrically opposing to the courtly obsession with order.

I'm not sure the story is entirely authentic. Winslet's character is convincing in herself, with her passion for her work, her unconventionality and her commitment to defying authority. On the other hand is she too modern for the time and setting? Would such a feisty feminist have even been taken on by the French court to manage and work in the gardens?

Louis XIV's court is made to look ridiculous, but then I have a suspicion that it probably was ridiculous.

It's a beautifully shot film with excellent performances and many entertaining scenes and telling moments. It's amazing to see the great gardens rise up against the odds, particularly Sabine's impressive project of a water garden with hidden orchestra, even though I prefer my gardens smaller and more subtle and the ecologist in me hated to see the natural landscape so changed out of recognititon.

A Little Chaos is showing at Edinburgh Filmhouse until 23 April