The Glowing Branches of Life .

After continuous winter rain, when all seems flattened and sodden, lichen glows almost unearthly in the gloom.

Lichen is an extraordinary composite creature made up of an algae or Cyanobacteria and a fungi living together in harmony. The algae can photosynthesis and make carbohydrates from the weakest sun and these feed the fungi, which in turn provides a protective home for the algae and a way to trap the water which they both need.

Lichen can grow on bare rock, on tree trunks on twigs and statues, it can grow in ancient forests and gravelly deserts and has even been taken into space and back with no ill effects.

There are 20,000 known species of this communal  creature, that does no harm at all to the medium on which it grows. It is not a plant and some growths of lichen  maybe the oldest living things on the planet.

After rain, the protective cortex becomes transparent and we can see the variously coloured algae layer underneath . This lichen was growing on the red twigs of dog wood blown down by the storm. On such dark winter days the lichen is positively luminescent and shades of tantalising green and orange flare out to remind us that the natural word is always  still alive and is still all around us!

 

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The Lengthening Shadows

The year is turning and the shadows creep up the wall.

These saplings pattern a chapel in the forest nearby. This chapel is all that remains of a village that was never rebuilt after plague and invasion wiped out the inhabitants. A local history buff has carved its named on a picnic bench, where hikers might pause for a moment to wonder who lived here as they chomp down their energy bars amongst the quiet of the trees.

Only the name and shadows remain.

 

 

Gertrude Bell – The Ketrun – Desert Queen — Stephen Liddell

I reblog this fascinating post about a very important woman and her legacy. We all have those day dreams about who we wished we had been in another life, well Gertrude Bell is mine. Thanks to Steven Liddell for this excellent read.

From time to time, I have written about iconic and pioneering women in relative recent history, well recent by British standards 🙂 I also sometimes write about the Middle-East which is actually the one area of life that I can actually claim to have some academic expertise. So I have finally taken the opportunity to […]

via Gertrude Bell – The Ketrun – Desert Queen — Stephen Liddell

Thank you !

Today the wind was cold and wild  and the blossom flew in a spray of pink and white  through the branches. The last of the cherry blossom hurled into the air in a snow globe whirl of white. The apple blossom, more tenacious and solid is still open for the bees.

Today is my anniversary of starting this blog. Last spring was cold and wet and I started writing because I was so frustrated to not be in my garden and writing about it was the next best thing.

I have enjoyed making these posts and making contact with such an extraordinarily diverse range if people across the world. Checking in and seeing the orange dot next to the bell is still a real thrill and I love reading comments from my friends even more.

So to my followers : a heart felt  thank you for your interest and patience with my wonderful typos!!

I thought maybe I would stop on my anniversary, but as I am still enjoying myself I think I’ll carry on and enjoy your company and the pleasure of writing about

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the wonderful, healing, natural world a little longer   😁😁🌸🌳🍀🌸🌳🍀🐝🌸

Don’t mow the lawn!

Cutting the grass is a waste of time, but much more importantly it is destroying a food source for bees and butterflies. In the spring time, if you can resist tidying up the lawn and letting the dandelions flower you will be providing one of the richest food sources for honey bees at this time of year. Bees need all the help that they can get. Populations have crashed in Europe in recent years which have led to record low harvests of honey . We need all types of bees to pollinate food crops and wild flowers and to make us smile, so resist that urge to turn your lawn into green carpet and let the dandelions flower. If you are really brave and can withstand the tuts of tidy minded, ecologically ignorant neighbours, you can even let the dandelions seed and watch clown-faced gold finches feast on the seeds.

Why buy expensive imported “wild flower” seed mixes when all have to do is sit back and watch the grass grow for a few weeks and do more good completely for free?

Now that’s what I call real gardening!!I

April Showers

T.S Elloit said April was the cruelest month, but for me it is the kindest, greenest, lushest and most beautiful of all the months in my garden.

It is raining, soft, soaking raining and as I watch the cherry blossoms on my neighbour’s tree are opening and the silver birch leaves are unfurling, turning the indistinct haze of buds into tiny sharp new leaves.

On my kitchen counter the green bean seeds are waiting for a lull in the downpour to be planted and my cat is miowing with indignation because she wants to go out but won’t tolerate her own muddy paws.

If it wasn’t raining I would be out in the vegetable garden, as muddy as the cat; but as I am sheltering in the kitchen I thought I would share how beautiful the garden is with you. April really is the start of the gardening year proper, so it seems a good time to start this blog and share my passion . Not every one would like this garden, it isn’t tidy, it isn’t themed, it isn’t colour coordinated, but it is full of life (even if the cats some times eat some of it!), and it is fascinating, so when I can, I will tell you about it.