About Me

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London, United Kingdom
This blog will contain pictures and information from my everyday encounters with nature in London and the surrounding areas. I will log details of the origin of each photograph thus recording what there is to be seen and where it was seen. I very much welcome anyone else who can upload photos and information about nature in London and the home counties. I work freelance in the film industry so have plenty of days off. I hope to update Monday to Friday and once on the weekend posting at around 19.30, I don't post on bank holidays

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Black Mulberry (Morus nigra)

Gnarled lumpy bole

Edible fruit
These photos are of the large Mulberry tree in the walled garden in Brockwell park. I thought it was a nice thing to write about after the riots. This tree is well worth a look at it’s been in the walled garden since Victorian times and it should be there long after this current group of criminal looters are dead. Seeing our live in the context of the natural world is a powerful leveler. One of the gardeners in the park told me that Victorians would often plant these trees in their walled gardens to use as an indicator of spring; they shoot very late so once they shoot it’s a supposed guarantee that Spring is well underway. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this but I like the story. There are many members of the genus Morus. The White Mulberry and Black Mulberry are most common in Britain and are quite easy to tell apart as the black has heart shaped leaves and the white has long oval shaped leaves. This is a stunning tree brimming with edible fruit at the moment well worth a visit.

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

Mountain Ash  berries, Herne Hill
Also known as Mountain Ash although they are not related to true Ash. This is a small to medium sized tree that can be seen quite commonly round London and is easy to recognize at the moment as they’re brimming with bunches of red berries. These trees are able to survive at high altitudes, hence the name but are also popular in towns. The berries are a very important winter stable for birds as they persist even after the leaves have fallen, they even attract migratory birds like Waxwing into town. The berries are edible but are said not to be very pleasant on their own. I’ve heard they can be made into a pleasant conserve to eat with game. Be very careful that you’ve made 100% correct identification there are lots of dangerous berries about!

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

Dalberg rd, SW2

I took this photo on Dalberg rd between Brixton and Dulwich rd. The very pleasant owner was very happy for me to take a photograph. There is another house a few doors down which is also growing sunflowers but they are not quite as high. The one in this photo looked around 8ft. It reminded me of class competitions at infant school to see who could grow the highest plant. What is commonly referred to as the flower on a fully grown plant is actually known as the flower head. The plants are famed for Heliotropism (where a plant turns to track the sun) but this is not actually true of fully grown flower heads, which will usually face east and remain doing so for their lifespan. The young buds and leafs will turn to face the sun. Great plants and easy to grow with lots of well known uses. They are native to America.

Thursday 21 July 2011

Nature is going to be published twice a week on Tuesday and Friday for the foreseeable future due to work commitments but it will be returning to daily posting at some point.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Ivy-Leaved Toadflax (Cymbalaria muralis)

Spenser rd,  SE24
It’s nice to be looking round town and writing about bits of nature again after having been away for so long.  I saw the Ivy-Leaved Toadflax on a wall when I was dropping off my car at a garage. It’s in flower at the moment (as you can see) and will be until around November having started in around April. This is edible and is often used in salads in smart restaurants. I’m told the per kilo price is quite high. It predominantly grows in brick walls and is very common. A lot of the brick work in the area doesn’t seem to have it growing but interestingly this small area that was painted had quite a lot growing which makes me wonder if the paint has some positive effect. I quite like the taste, bitter and sharp, I think it is good for adding a bit of spice to a salad. Please be sure of Identification before you eat it.

Wednesday 29 June 2011

Due to work commitments, Nature in London will start posting again on Monday 18th of July.

Monday 27 June 2011

Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)

Sedge Warbler

This is a common summer visitor to Britain. It is well worth stopping and spending a bit of time watching this bird if you come across one. They are extremely lively characterful little birds that sing very powerfully. The one in the photograph taken in Hertforshire let me get very close whilst he belted out powerful, virtually non-stop song for five minutes or more. They migrate from Africa, where they spend the winter and may be found in Britain from around mid April to mid October. They feed mainly on insects and their numbers are healthy, in fact The inhabit a massively extensive range of countries from Asia through Africa to all over Europe.