New Blog

This is just a quick post to let all my readers know that I’ve started a new blog:

Part-Time Poet – https://parttimepoet.wordpress.com

From now on this is where I’ll be sharing my poetry; this means This and That is now a dormant blog, I will no longer be sharing any new posts on that site.

Please feel free to check my new blog out, I’ve already posted some poems (both new and old) which I hope you’ll enjoy. Happy reading! 🙂

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Cam Peak

Cam Peak is my local dog-walking place, five minutes drive from where I live. I was recently dog-sitting my landlord’s gorgeous black Labradors Murphy and Jasper and took them for a romp round part of the Cotswold Way.

Views

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The views of the countryside are truly amazing, it feels like you’re on top of the world. On a clear day you can see right out to the Brecon Beacons in Wales, it feels strange seeing the place I used to call home in the distance. . .

Spot the dogs!

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There are a few spots rich in wildflowers, one patch had dozens of pyramidal orchids, Anacamptis pyramidalis. I won’t be able to stay away in springtime when the wildflowers are at their prime!

Patch of Anacamptis pyramidalis

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More views

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Hope you enjoyed the photos 🙂

NaBloPoMo_2015

Lineover Wood

I recently discovered Lineover wood near Cheltenham, a woodland with ancient trees and fantastic wildflowers.

Woodland

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The collections of coppiced oak (Quercus robur), field maple (Acer campestre) and hazel (Corylus avellana) was vast, I saw some awe-inspiring beeches (Fagus sylvatica) and ash (Fraxinus excelsior) specimens too.

Old trees

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Lineover is most famous for its old lime trees (Tilia x europaea), most of which are present as old coppiced stools. It’s a fantastic place to explore and escape from the world, I didn’t meet a single soul during my visit.

Impressive oak

136137Cool fungi

122Wildflowers

093The wildflowers stole the show for me, at the top of a steep climb a whole meadow was alive with colour. Plants like devil’s-bit scabious (Succisa pratensis), St John’s-wort (Hypericum perforatum) and knapweed (Centaurea nigra) were out in full force as well as common spotted orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii and pyramidal orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis.

088Devil’s-bit scabious and St John’s-wort

091Dactylorhiza fuchsii

127Anacamptis pyramidalis

080The views over the Cheltenham and Malvern hills are stunning, when I went it was a beautiful day and I could see for miles.

Views

095120Devil’s-bit scabious again

087It’s supposed to be perfect woodland for bluebells, I’ll be returning again in spring if not before. Hope you enjoyed the photos 🙂

Tortworth Chestnut

Today I went in search of some serious tree porn. . . see what I found! Definitely an OMG moment!!

Tortworth Chestnut

179The Tortworth Chestnut (sweet chestnut, Castanea sativa) is thought to have grown from a nut planted in 800 AD. This makes it over 1,000 years old, dating back to Saxon times.

The full beast

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The girth of the main trunk is about 11 metres (36 foot). There are numerous branches which have laid down roots around the mother tree, which are creating a little chestnut copse.

Suckers from the mother tree

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I became aware of this handsome beast after reading Archie Miles’s book “Hidden Trees of Britain”. The Tortworth Chestnut is tucked away in a field, near the church in Tortworth, Gloucestershire.

Close up of the main trunk

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It is a must-see for any tree enthusiasts, I pretty much wet myself when I first caught a glimpse of this amazing, awe-inspiring fella. The photos don’t do him justice but still. . . 🙂

Stunning Streptocarpus

Here are some photos of my gorgeous Streptocarpus (also known as African violet), which is flowering for the first time! I propagated this plant from a leaf cutting last spring, the growth it has put on in just over a year is fantastic.

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I had no idea what colour the flowers were going to be, as you can see they’re a really vivid shocking pink. I don’t know what the exact cultivar is so if anyone recognises it please let me know! Hope you enjoyed the photos 🙂

Alpine Garden Society Show

I spent today helping out at the Alpine Garden Society South Wales show. It was a wonderful way to spend Valentine’s Day, surrounded by plants and plant lovers.

Iris displays

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Me and my flatmate/work colleague/fellow horticultural student Becky(!) met Bob and Rannveig Wallis last week when we visited their alpine nursery. They gave us a fantastic tour of their glasshouses and polytunnels, they specialise in bulbs – the glasshouse of Galanthus, aka snowdrops, was particularly impressive. They mentioned the upcoming AGS show and invited us to help out on the day which we accepted of course.

Snowdrop displays

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Galanthus ‘Primrose Warburg’

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We met so many like-minded, enthusiastic people, exhibitors who were taking part in the competition side as well as various nurseries who were selling a fabulous variety of plants. I came away with two plants, Becky wasn’t quite as restrained and ended up buying seven! We were like kids in a sweet shop!

Crocus displays

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Cyclamen display

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We spent the morning stewarding the judges, which basically involved recording the results of the show and labelling the exhibitors cards with 1st, 2nd and 3rd stickers. It was interesting to hear what sort of things the judges were looking for, some of the minute details they were discussing was unbelievable – yet those were the factors which were the difference between a 1st and a 2nd.

Dionysia displays

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Dionysia tapetodes

Dionysia tapetodes

One of our work colleagues exhibited a Narcissus and won first prize – nice one Carl!

Carl’s winning display

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Other favourite displays

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Primula allionii ‘Peter Burrow’

Primula allionii 'Peter Burrow'

We were given a free lunch for helping out, all in all it was a great day. I took photos of my favourite displays from the competition which I’ve included throughout this post – hope you enjoyed them. 🙂