The Biology of Freshwater (flowering) Plants

David Beeson, September 2022 Evolution is powerful. If you fail to fit in, something else will take your place, and freshwater is today only filled with the fittest of plants. Yet, those plants originated as marine organisms that migrated onto the then uncolonized land. Here the conditions were very different, and evolution forced them toContinue reading “The Biology of Freshwater (flowering) Plants”

Some wildlife in South Wales

David Beeson June 2022 Annette and I embarked on a two-week exploration of the coastline at the start of June. Our first stop was just west of Newport at the Tredegar House caravan site. This allowed easy access to The Newport Wetlands which are partly managed by the RSPB and dominated by present and pastContinue reading “Some wildlife in South Wales”

Plant Families

David Beeson, May 2022 If you are a subscriber and receive all the articles, do look at the NEW HOMEPAGE at http://www.nwhwildlife.org as all the posts have been reorganised to make searching easier. The placing of organisms into groups some people think is a rather boring topic. I agree; yet understanding some aspects of classificationContinue reading “Plant Families”

YOU SHOULD READ THIS ————-SOIL – an article from the UK GUARDIAN newspaper.

From David: Worth reading. The author is a well-known environmentalist. The newspaper is straight and factual (unlike some others). Don’t dismiss soil: its unknowable wonders could ensure the survival of our species by George Monbiot Sat 7 May 2022 09.00 BST Beneath our feet is an ecosystem so astonishing that it tests the limits of ourContinue reading “YOU SHOULD READ THIS ————-SOIL – an article from the UK GUARDIAN newspaper.”

The Wild Orchids of Crete in Early April

David Beeson, April 2022 Spring in the mid-uplands of Crete is the main time for seeing the flowers on wild orchids. The mild winters, hot summers with winds often coming from the Sahara and the calcareous soils all add to making this a favourable environment. This last winter the rain and snow exceeded expectations, soContinue reading “The Wild Orchids of Crete in Early April”

The Coastal Communities of Crete

David Beeson, April 2022 Earlier this month we embarked on a botanical visit to the Greek island of Crete. We have been there twice, previously both walking and seeking plants, but this time headed for the centre of the island, to Rethymno. We had not been to this part of Crete. Crete is a mountainousContinue reading “The Coastal Communities of Crete”

Algal Microscopy

David Beeson, April 2022 A bit of a specialist topic, I agree, but stay with me and perhaps I will change your mind about algae … they can be quite interesting. And, as for a microscope, well, mine cost only £105 and it is first-year university standard, but cheap as an unwanted present bought fromContinue reading “Algal Microscopy”

I had forgotten just how magical a drop of pond water can be.

David Beeson, March 2022 I’m about to sell my microscope, as a new one is on its way to me. So, I thought I would give the old one an outing – a sample of pond water. Oh, what wonders! If you have access to a microscope and have never looked at pond water doContinue reading “I had forgotten just how magical a drop of pond water can be.”

The Home Lives of Fungi

David Beeson, March 2022 The fungi are the organisms that form the Kingdom MYCETEAE, and are neither plants nor animals, and bear very little resemblance to bacteria or algae. So, they are fascinating when you get to know them. And, that is my task today – to enable you to see life from a fungal’sContinue reading “The Home Lives of Fungi”

The Invasion of Land, and the first land plants … The Bryophytes (Mosses and Liverworts)

David Beeson, 28th February 2022 About 450 million years ago, in the Silurian era, plants invaded the land. With water and land / air being such different habitats evolution had to throw up some divergent life forms to survive there. It would take millions of years for the complete colonisation of land. The first trueContinue reading “The Invasion of Land, and the first land plants … The Bryophytes (Mosses and Liverworts)”

Growing your own Fungi

David Beeson, 28 February 2022 Fungi are everywhere and are said to be found higher in the atmosphere than any other organism. Indeed, with their light spores spreading so easily some species can be potentially found worldwide. There are over 50 000 fungal species and they occur everywhere – land, soil and water. They areContinue reading “Growing your own Fungi”

We Cannot Believe Everything in Books, and other events.

David Beeson, on the RED ALERT for high winds day. 18th February. We have three English walnut trees, Juglans regia. Two are over 100 years of age, the third probably 50 years old. We now have two in the ground. Today has been a most unusual day as the strongest storm winds in over 30Continue reading “We Cannot Believe Everything in Books, and other events.”

Peat and pollen analysis

David Beeson, January 2022 For us, northern hemisphere people, the year is edging towards longer days and shorter nights … and about time too! And there are signs that life is at least starting to think about spring. We have snowdrops just coming into flower, the Tulipa sylvestris have popped up above soil level andContinue reading “Peat and pollen analysis”

The Blob – slime moulds / molds

David Beeson, December 2021 Some friends alerted me to a programme (The Blob) on BBC IPlayer about a most unlikely topic – slime moulds. If you have any curiosity about the oddities of this planet, this is the one to watch. You will be amazed. I have grown these organisms in the past, but theContinue reading “The Blob – slime moulds / molds”

Autumn has finally arrived

David Beeson, mid-November 2021 With three frosts throwing their silvery whiteness over our garden many of the plants have closed down for the winter. Probably these types are more southerly in their origins, yet many blooms are still attracting the honey and bumblebees, as well as the remaining wasps. While the light-absorbing pigments in chlorophyllContinue reading “Autumn has finally arrived”

The Magpie Fungus and its friends

David Beeson, Late October 2021 Harewood Forest, an ancient woodland in North Hampshire, is mainly populated by pedunculate oak trees. Most of these trees are one hundred to one hundred and fifty years old as many were previously culled during the First World War for the production of gunpowder. In a few surface chalky locationsContinue reading “The Magpie Fungus and its friends”

Autumn at Hilliers

David Beeson, 26th October 2021 The Hillier Garden, near Romsey in Hampshire, is owned by Hampshire County Council and is a gem of a botanic and popular garden. The site was originally the home of Sir Harold Hillier, who established the small but, up-market, garden business that wins gold after gold at the Chelsea FlowerContinue reading “Autumn at Hilliers”

Naked Ladies in Everleigh Ashes

Dr John Moon (main words) and David Beeson (images and introduction). 1st September 2021 Photographing the Naked Ladies … now do not get too excited, this may not the article you thought it might be! As you will all know, Naked Ladies is a common name of the Autumn Crocus, Meadow Saffron, scientific name: ColchicumContinue reading “Naked Ladies in Everleigh Ashes”

The Chemistry of Wildlife

David Beeson, late August 2021 It could be argued that wildlife enthusiasts spend too much time looking and too little in thinking. I bet you disagree! Sure, I do. The sights and sounds of the natural world is alluring and gives me a buzz. I am never more content than exploring for the unknown orContinue reading “The Chemistry of Wildlife”

Epipactis, the helleborines and other summer-flowering orchids of the southern UK.

David Beeson, August 2021 PLUS: photographs of plants on Eastern Salisbury Plain Army Training Area. But, firstly let us separate the two different genera of ‘helleborines’. There are Epipactis and Cephalanthera helleborines. The Cephalanthera genus contains the white, red and narrow-leaved helleborines. The white helleborine I find locally, sometimes in good numbers. I associate itContinue reading “Epipactis, the helleborines and other summer-flowering orchids of the southern UK.”