Best known as an actor, and a "national treasure", Judi Dench has had a passion for trees since she was a young girl and she owns a small 6-acre woodland which she's had for about 30 years. This ultimate woodland programme can be seen on BBC catch-up TV - just search "Judi Dench my passion for trees". It's a single one hour programme and takes us through a whole year, mostly in Surrey and often looking at older oak trees. As Judi says, at one point, "my life now is just trees ... trees and, er, champagne."
Shakespeare has always been a big part of Judi Dench's life and she has acted in some thirty Shakespeare plays starting in the late 1950s and culminating, according to some, in her playing "M" of MI6 in James Bond. Read more...
An easy 25-minute walk along the water-front from the centre of Stockholm brings you to the island of Djurgarden, home to many of the region’s finest museums. There really is something for everyone here; from the restored splendour of the 17th century warship Vasa – salvaged from the bottom of Stockholm harbour where it lay for 333 years after sinking only minutes into its maiden voyage [a Nordic Marie Rose?], through the traditional / formal exhibits at the grand Nordic Museum to the glitz and glitter of the Abba museum.
But it is the outdoor museum Skansen which draws me back each time I visit this beautiful city. Read more...
Each year, a variety of conifers are sold as Christmas trees, for example, the
- Norway Spruce Picea abies
- Silver Fir Abies alba
- Nordmann Fir Abies normanniana
- Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris
and in North America
- Douglas Fir Pseudotuga menziesii and
- Balsam Fir Abies balsamea.
Tree by tree is a project set up by Tino Rawnsley and his partner Catherine Selby. A woodworker and woodsman all his life, Tino has been passionate about trees ever since childhood playing in the woods and coppices of the north downs of Kent. In late 2016, Tino was diagnosed with motor neuron disease, a life limiting disease for which there is currently no cure.
Below, Tino explains what led to the setting up of the project and his hopes for its future. Read more...
Mushrooms come in many shapes, colours and sizes, that much we all know. It is these aspects that provide really the only way for the amateur mycologist, who doesn’t have access to sophisticated DNA sequencing techniques or microscopes to look at the tiny differentiating details of the spores, to go about the troublesome business of identifying their finds. However, neophytes embarking on their first steps into the fascinating world of mycology quickly discover two things. The first is that the forms of the fungal fruiting bodies are never fixed. They begin initially when the hyphal cells first fuse to form a tiny primordium, described poetically by Eugenia Bone in Mycophilia as “a dense little nubbin of preformed mushroom that (in many cases) contains all its cells”. Read more...
The arboretum at Tortworth is a very special place. It has a long and interesting history and boasts some incredible exotic trees. The trees are a living history of the woodland and the family that planted it, but a few years ago the collection was at risk of decline through lack of management. That is, until 3 years ago when woodlands.co.uk purchased the woodland and the trees were given a new lease of life - while also changing lives. The 20 acre site is now managed by a community woodland group who are gently restoring the trees and at the same time, making a difference to people, as we hear from one of their regular volunteers.
At this time of year, the scrabble board is often brought out and ‘battle’ commences. People often play with ‘variants’ of the rules and sometimes a themed approach can be fun. Here is a selection of woodland related words, many of which are names of woodlands that owners have purchased from woodlands.co.uk over the years. Words have been selected via a number of different categories including interesting meanings of the words, good scoring words, common woodland words and short words with good scoring letters. My daughter, Imogen and I came up with the words and checked them on the dictionary and scrabble checker.
Neither of us is a “scrabble wizard” but we have checked all words are in the Oxford online dictionary and that they are compatible with the scrabble word checker but if you notice anything incorrect ……… Read more...