Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Meeting this Saturday at Charnwood Lodge

Grimmia pulvinata (?) at Hambleton Jan. 2014
Image: R. Parry
This Saturday 15th February we are meeting at 12 noon at Charnwood Lodge to record conifers and bryophytes in the woodland around the site of the former Lodge and Victorian gardens.

This means we will be in a nice hollow out of the wind rather than up on the blowy heath, although we do need to walk for a while to reach that nice hollow!  

The meeting will be a great opportunity to use our conifer ID skills we gained at the pre-Christmas meeting at the BotanicGardens. I know, that seems like ages ago and you've forgotten everything.... but don't worry, it will all come back when you get out there!

Cladonia pyxidata (?) at Hambleton Jan. 2014
Image: R. Parry
Parking is by the bomb rocks at SK462156.

Please use the doodle  to arrange car sharing or to indicate that you would like to take part.

Organiser for this meeting is Uta Hamzaoui and you can phone her on 07852 682 790. If you need more info about this meeting, you can email Uta direct at 

And please note that we are visiting Charnwood Lodge on Saturday by kind permission of LRWT. Many thanks to LRWT Conservation Officer Neil Pilcher for sorting out the paperwork and granting us a one-day permit.

Hope to see you all at Charnwood Lodge on Saturday.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Something to cheer you all up

What miserable weather! A few minutes sunshine and clear skies, then the rain and wind start again. Still we can't complain, given what some VCs re going through. To get away from it all, I spent a few days holiday in the South of France at the end of January and was very lucky to have a spell of warm, sunny weather. (There have been floods in that region this winter too.) I've posted a couple of pictures I took while walking in the Alpes Maritimes from a village called Asprémont to Falicon on the outskirts of Nice. I've done the walk before and you get a spectacular view of the Var Valley as you descend. En route, I encountered several numerous, widely dispersed colonies of the Riviera Crocus (Crocus versicolor) and several impressive specimens of the Giant Orchid (Barlia robertiana) which I'm posting just because they are beautiful plants and cheered me up a lot. We don't have these in VC55, but I hope they cheer you up too.

While I was in Nice, I visited the Musée Masséna (free entry) which is a local museum that displays about the history of the city, especially as a resort, and includes some early- and mid-19th century illustrations of the city and its surroundings. As a botanist, I was intrigued to see the Century Plant (Agave americana) depicted in the countryside in some of the pictures (i.e. naturalised) . Assuming the pictures are accurate representations of the area, this means the Agave "jumped the fence" at least 200 years ago. I don't know the exact date and more research is needed. You see, can still do botany indoors in an art gallery. Happy holidays wherever you're going this year.


Crocus versicolor

Barlia robertiana with a bee