Monthly Archives: April 2016

Fascinating factoids about yet more flowers out now (or not, depending on the season)

Lords and ladies

158 Lords and Ladies cropped

The starchy root of Lords and Ladies was once used to produce a home made version of arrowroot.  This was called Portland sago.  As all parts of the plant are poisonous it was not otherwise consumed.

Lords and ladies was recommended by some to treat sore throats and ringworm.  It was used to encourage the afterbirth to detach. Continue reading

An unanticipated downside of Citizen Science – it can make you hate nature (a little bit)

So this is my third year as a volunteer recorder for the most excellent and worthy TrackaTree phenology project, which uses volunteers to collect data to be analysed by scientists.  It seems to operate at just the right level of data collection demand to suit me – rigorous enough to be meaningful without being overbearing in what you have to record and submit.

But everything has a downside somewhere, and these are not always obvious at the start. Continue reading

Steve Hallam – now a ‘star’ of local radio (not), and a lawn meadower

So I’ve had a new experience today – I was interviewed for about five minutes on BBC Radio Essex (and no, not at 3 in the morning).  Radio Essex wanted to give some coverage to the RSPB’s campaign to encourage folk to let their garden lawns grow a little longer to help wildlife.  This helps in two ways – it enables meadow flowers such as Cowslips to stand a chance, while the longer grass is needed by certain species of butterfly, such as the Speckled Wood.  And, of course, it means that you have to mow it less. Continue reading