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”

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”

A Journey Through Central Wales – The Cambrian Mountains

David Beeson, late September 2021 Central Wales is probably less visited than the north and south coasts, yet for wildlife it offers some gems. It is a largely remote area of high hills, although some people feel they are mountains. Sheep dominate the lower elevations, and their winter pastures are so improved that only grassContinue reading “A Journey Through Central Wales – The Cambrian Mountains”

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”

Wildlife Garden in Late August

David Beeson It has been an indifferent summer in Hampshire. Yet we are hugely appreciative of having no fires or floods or plagues of locusts. I guess dampness is preferable to desertification. The cool rainfall enhanced grass growth by removing growth-limiting factors, so with some of the meadows now cut the compost bins are fullContinue reading “Wildlife Garden in Late August”

Watery Meadows and Late Summer Colour

David Beeson, late August 2021 With time to spare in Salisbury I took the opportunity to re-visit the water meadows there. (If this topic is of interest see the previous article.) The C17 innovation of water meadows changed agriculture in Southern England. Comparatively warm river water was flooded onto the meadows to warm the soilContinue reading “Watery Meadows and Late Summer Colour”

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.”

Living in Fresh Water

David Beeson, July 2021 Living in fresh water sets up challenges for organisms. It is quite a different environment from dry land or from salty marine places. And it is a rare space on Earth – 2.5% of the earth’s water is fresh. Yet most of the earth’s fresh water is unavailable: locked up inContinue reading “Living in Fresh Water”

Simply Hoverflies

July is hoverfly season. David Beeson, 11th July. References: https://bna-naturalists.org/id-guide-hoverflies/ and https://www.naturespot.org.uk/gallery/hoverflies Flies have a single pair of wings and, before them, a pair of halteres (shown). Halteres are a pair of small club-shaped organs on the body of two orders of flying insects that provide information about body rotations during flight. They have compoundContinue reading “Simply Hoverflies”

Botany – Plant Movement

David Beeson, July 2021 Many people feel that plants ‘do not do anything’. Clearly, that is far from the truth, they often just work at a different speed. The clearest example could be a giant US redwood – they generate more height, more bulk and more potential offspring then me. But it takes them aContinue reading “Botany – Plant Movement”

The Eco-garden in Early July and the Problem with Clay Soils.

David Beeson Note: a garden meadow is a garden feature. It is designed as part of a garden and not as a wildlife reserve. The wildlife that comes with the garden meadow is a bonus. Our Summer Meadow is ideally only cut from early autumn and is part garden feature and part wildlife reserve. WithContinue reading “The Eco-garden in Early July and the Problem with Clay Soils.”

Waste ground?

David Beeson, 1st July 2021 North-west Hampshire’s non-urban areas are dominated by three land uses. 1) Forest on the alkaline, chalky clay caps, 2) Damp riverine meadows, some of which were proper water meadows until the mid-1900s and 3) Traditional farmland, which is mostly arable, growing grass crops – wheat, barley and blue ryegrass forContinue reading “Waste ground?”

Photo Essay – Plants in June

David Beeson, 24th June 2021 Just a ramble through some of my recent images. A bit of this and that! The Dorset area called Purbeck is a great wildlife location. It also offers ‘family’ entertainment and great cream teas at Worth Matravers. When the steam railway is not operating the track bed offers good sightingsContinue reading “Photo Essay – Plants in June”

Ox Drove Meadows

It is a small meadow ‘given’ to the local population to compensate for the urbanisation of other local habitat. The meadow will end up as a dog-running area but the thick hedges will supply additional dormouse habitat, nesting sites and food for many other creatures. Good to see the additional planting around the site. MyContinue reading “Ox Drove Meadows”

Some early summer orchids and other floral delights

David Beeson 07/06/2021 I have been looking in three spots for plants, on one occasion as John wielded his camera in pursuit of butterflies. Spot one was in my own garden: spotted, southern marsh, twayblade and lesser butterfly orchids are currently in flower. Location two was alongside the A303 road, the route from London toContinue reading “Some early summer orchids and other floral delights”

Botany 2 – They eat like animals and look (a little) like plants. And some wander around, as well. Amazing organisms! What are they?

David Beeson, mid-May 2021 Yes, you’ve guessed it … they are FUNGI. At one time the fungi were considered as part of the plant kingdom. Sure, they do produce spores (as are pollen grains and those liberated by ferns, horsetails and mosses) and a few have cellulose cell walls, but they contain no chlorophyll, andContinue reading “Botany 2 – They eat like animals and look (a little) like plants. And some wander around, as well. Amazing organisms! What are they?”