Across the rec

 Nature Notes 

 Review of 2021  


 Meadow Maintenance 

 Sweet Chestnut 




 Stag Beetles 

 Hay Meadows 

 Goat Willow 


 Winter Trees 


 Take it easy 

 Falling Leaves 

 Horse Chestnut 


 Pollinator Patch 

 Bird Song 


 Garden - May 

 Garden - Apr 

 Birch Trees 

 Rotting Wood 





 Sowing Seeds 

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Notes from my Garden - May 2020


I was wondering what to write about this month. Swifts or cow parsley perhaps? Then we went for a short walk in the Test Valley Nature Reserve. The air was full of delicate white particles floating effortlessly on the breeze; it was like walking through a gentle flurry of snow.  In places, the ground looked like it was covered in cotton wool. These were the thousands of seeds of the crack willow dispersing on the wind and falling wherever the air currents took them. It made me think about how exquisitely seeds are designed to serve their purpose.

Nature has engineered the perfect solution for sedentary plants to spread and in doing so has created objects of great beauty.


Wind dispersal is one of the techniques that plants employ. This requires some of the most delicate of seeds that either float using their own miniature ‘parachutes’, or spiral on papery wings. The latter is represented by a number of tree species in the UK such as field maple, ash, sycamore and hornbeam.


But for me, one of the most beautiful of wind- blown seed heads occurs on one of our commonest plants. It is the delicate, ephemeral seed head of the dandelion. I hear gardeners groan as I write this, but its testament to their superlative design that their progeny sprout all over our gardens. An article in Nature magazine (Oct 2018) reports a study that reveals ‘the extraordinary flight of the dandelion’ and the previously unknown biodynamics. As wonderful as that is, it’s the great beauty of the seed head that rewards our attention. There are upwards of 100 seeds that make up each head, and every seed is attached, via a stalk to a silvery, filamentous ‘parachute’; together they form the intricate, globe, commonly known as a dandelion ‘clock’. And generations of children have attempted to tell the time by blowing on these ‘clocks’ and watching the seeds as they disperse and float, seemingly weightless in the air…I’m sure, to the further delight of gardeners!


But sadly, both dandelion and willow are amongst the ’lost’ words that have been removed from the Children’s Oxford Dictionary. How sad it would be if future generations grew up failing to notice these lovely plants, that although common, hold a world of wonders.





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