on the top of rocks

Floral Findings 3 – Growing on the Edge

I’m not sure that I can truthfully say that this clump of thrift, on the edge of rocks looking out over the sea, is actually growing. The year has been so dry and they are clearly past their colourful flowering stage . . . but still I find them very attractive!

on the edge

The shoreline has as much to enjoy by way of plants as the coast has just a few yards inland. The fact that they all have a slightly different annual cycle to their growth patterns makes them that much more interesting.Continue reading

tree silhouette

From Light to Dark – Reviewing the Walk

My walk this week took me from light to dark in Brynmill Park in Swansea. I had visited the park on many previous occasions and so was interested in capturing some of the details of the place rather than a more open view of its land and waterscape.

Dark Park Railings

It was good to start my short walk in the afternoon sunlight and watch the squirrels gathering their winter stores and the swans and ducks on the dark water of the lake, even though there was the most terrific fight between two of the ducks (not included in the soundscape below).Continue reading

At an End of the Garden

Gate in Cally Gardens

The image above is of a old gate set in one of the high walls of Cally Gardens in Scotland. We always visit the gardens when in Scotland but on this occasion discovered that the man who ran them, Michael Wickenden, had died while hunting for plants in Myanmar, and that the gardens are to be sold.Continue reading

My Walk this Week – Kunsthuis

I have been off the grid, so to speak, for a couple of weeks while away on holiday in Scotland but our journey there took in a couple of other destinations in the North East of England. We delivered some of Julie’s work (Julie Brunskill – Ceramics) to the Kunsthuis Gallery in Crayke just north of York and discovered at the same time that Kunsthuis also has a nice cafe and gardens to explore. So my walk this week is a short tour around the place. I’m afraid there are no sound clips with this walk so you will have to imagine the north eastern English countryside sounds.

Follow my posts through the week to see some of the plants, structures and art work in the Kunsthuis Gallery Gardens.

Kunsthuis Gallery

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Lakeside Patterns and Colours

My walk this week in Brynmill Park, Swansea allowed me to see some fabulous patterns and colours. I particularly liked this quite dark reflection of these huge grass-like plants. Sorry I can’t give you the botanical information on my surroundings but while that is certainly of interest to me, I cannot say that, if told either the common or latin names, I would remember them. I will, however, remember the patterns and colours of this corner of the lake in the park.

lakeside reflections

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Crossing to the Other Side

Crossing to the other side of the street on my walk this week revealed more natural life than it occurred to me I might find. This is a busy city centre street (or close to it) and the predominant features tend to be of man-made materials – concrete and metal, tarmac and bricks.

As I reached the point where the street I was on changes its name, I crossed to the other side and as I waited at the pedestrian crossing I noted some of the patterns around me and also the plants and flowers lining sections of the street.  The perspective of trees lining the extension of this street is a deliberate plan, but the plants and flowers (some would say weeds) in the forecourts (if they can be called that) of the buildings on this section of the street are there because that is what nature will do if you let it.

The owners of these buildings and businesses are clearly not concerned about this aspect of their working lives and from my point of view the growth of the wild flowers and grasses are a lot more attractive than concrete, but each to their own. At least the vegetation allows some natural drainage.

Street-side plants

Street-side plants

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Flowers and Water

When visiting the Botanic Gardens (NBGW) the natural course to take on a walk is up the main path from the entrance towards the fountain at the end of a small lake. From here you have a number of options in terms of direction but if you have children with you (or even if you haven’t), the temptation is then to follow the twisting miniature stream set into the centre of the walkway.

Eventually, at the top of the path, you reach the simple but attractive water feature that feeds the meandering stream and you can look back down the way you have come and scan some of the other areas of the gardens.

water feature

All but one of the photos I am posting this week are from our walk here near the end of  September. However, I had to look to my archives for a shot of the twisting footpath stream and this one is from June 2011. My youngest daughter once said a few years after the gardens opened in 2000 that this was her favourite place in Wales – I am sure that this magical twisting trickle had something to do with it.

NBGW entrance walk

flowers and grasses

A Visit To The NBGW

Towards the end of September we visited the National Botanic Garden of Wales (NBGW) – it is a place we go whenever the opportunity arises as it is so beautiful and has a wide range of environments. The weather was excellent on this particular day, so I hope that you will join me on this week’s walk posts and enjoy some of the details of the gardens.

The gardens are visited by many photographers, professional and amateur alike, as it gives such a good opportunity to photograph the wide range of plants both in the grounds and in the Great Glass House. My photos this week are a selection of those I took on this September visit and although they are mostly shots of plants and flowers, you can see a wider view of the gardens through their film or virtual tour on their website.

peeling tree bark

white flowers at NBGW

Day Lily

The Confusing Colour of Seasons

Some of the colour I found my walk along Swansea Bay’s cycle/foot path recently was a little confusing. Autumn colours in  Summer? I discovered this young oak sapling on my walk through a wooded section of the path and although the year is passing quickly, I am pretty sure we are not in Autumn yet.

I guess it is just the colour that this particular variety of oak tree shows at this stage of its life/year. However, not long ago (in Spring) we found our amelanchier putting out a number of red autumn coloured leaves and wondered if the plant life of the planet is as confused as we are by the changing climate.

I don’t know what the red plant is in the second photo but its colour sure stood out against the green background!

Swansea Bay Plants

Swansea Bay Plants

Swansea Bay Plants

50 Years and Getting Back to Nature

The moss covered steps in the image below never really had a chance not without the intervention of man. Nature and the tree have been taking their course for 50 years and will not let puny things like concrete get in their way.

There are many different reasons for managing woodland. Whether it be to gain resources for one use or another, or to ensure the ecology of the woodland stays mixed and allows a variety of plants and animals. Either way, we manage woodland for ourselves, not for the woodland or the wildlife.

Left to its own devices, in time a woodland may become a monoculture. Given the sort of time that nature considers a millisecond, but we think of as millennia, who knows what would happen?

If you leave it alone, nature will do just fine by itself. The fact of the matter is, of course, that we are here on the planet and we need to live side by side with the rest of the creatures and plants. For me the key to all our survival is to live side by side and not to try and take over or rule over the natural planet (or ourselves for that matter).

Lifting the path

Talking about the Sweet Chestnut

Dai Morris talking about a Sweet Chestnut tree, one amongst many varieties being planted and managed at Coeden Fach woodland near Swansea, South Wales.

This week’s featured StillWalks video is from the south west of Scotland. This medium resolution full length version will be here all week and will then revert to the sample.

The video above is in 480p quality. You can use the Donate button below to pay however much you want and receive a high quality (720HD) download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Coastal Walk – Spring” which features part of the Galloway coastline in Scotland. Click the image above to watch the video. DVD Collections are also available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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