Monthly Archives: May 2013

Wild flowers with an interesting story to tell – look out for them now

Strange times we live in – one day of summer and the next of winter.  But nature battles on and there are increasing numbers of flowers about.  Some of those flowering at the moment may not always grab the visual attention, but have still got interesting stories to tell.  I’ve picked out four: Continue reading

Who would have thought this was by Luton?

I am sure that Luton, and its people, has many fine qualities. But I have never strongly associated it with wild country or sweeping vistas. Which just goes to show that you never stop learning …

Last weekend parental duties required that we had to spend much of Saturday in Hertfordshire. To complicate things, Richard (the botanist who is helping with Naturetale) was staying for the weekend, but at least we had the novelty of pleasant weather. By chance we stumbled upon a description of a walk around the Pegsdon Hills, an area of chalk grassland that sounded intriguing and that we had never heard of. Continue reading

Mayday flowers – not always quite so nice

These days the celebration of May Day is seen as an opportunity to have some innocent fun – dancing around the Maypole and perhaps watching some Morris dancers strut their stuff. Well, in the apolitical version of the day, anyway.

But the associations with Mayday were not always so positive and wholesome. Mayday has always been concerned with marking the transition from winter to summer. But when life was more agrarian, and having enough food was less assured, it was linked to the need to ensure good crops in the fields, gardens and woods. It was linked to fertility of all kinds, including human. People being what they are, this resulted in a tendency for young people to head off into the woods in couples. So Mayday, and the plants associated with it, developed a certain dubious image in the minds of Puritans and their fellow travellers. Continue reading

A hands on approach to imparting interesting information about flowers

In my spare time (ha ha) I am involved with the management of a local wood. This is owned by The Woodland Trust, but has a group of local volunteers who do much of the practical work. A highlight of the wood is its display of Bluebells (it featured in The Times’ recent list of ten great woods to visit), and each spring we organise guided walks to show people what the wood has to offer. Since the recent sad demise of local wildlife expert Joe Firmin I have stepped in as a very inadequate replacement. I used some of the information we’ve collated for the app to add a little extra interest to what I was able to tell people.

This is my report of the walk … Continue reading

Ground ivy – the flower we have to blame for all this

Many books have been written about how to innovate, to come up with ideas for new products and new businesses. And probably many more pounds have been spent by companies on consultants to run innovations sessions, workshops et al. Quite a bit of it wasted (I write as a former participant).

Ironically the irksome messiness of real life means that great new ideas cannot be programmed with certainty, or generated to order.

The genesis of Naturetale is a case in point; an illustration of how serendipity does its work when and where it chooses. Continue reading