Crab Cactus

I’m more familiar with the crab cactus under its popular name of Christmas cactus. It’s fuchsia-like flowers, which are typically crimson, appear around Christmas. The crab cactus is a hybrid which often goes under the name Zygocactus. One of its parents, Schlumbergera truncata, is a native of the coastal mountains of south-east Brazil, near Rio de […]

Blackbird in the Bins

4.15 p.m., 43°F, 6°C: The blackbird loves what I’m doing with the compost bins. It wrecked the new heap that I was building up in neat layers sprinkled every few inches with Garotta compost activator by tugging out pieces of moss, which I guess it has been using for nest building. Now it’s getting into the […]

Wood Forget-me-not

Look in a field guide and you’ll find a bewildering variety of forget-me-nots. I resorted to picking a stem and comparing it with the life size illustrations by Ian Garrard in The Wild Flowers of the British Isles, enabling me to identify it as wood forget-me-not, Myosotis sylvatica, which, as the name suggests, is found in damp woodland […]


3.15 p.m., 50ºF, 10ºF, 85% cloud, 30.1 inches, 1022 mb: My first job this morning at 6 a.m. was to flip open the studio skylight window and emphatically bang it shut again to shoo off a pair of mallards who were tucking into the tadpoles in our back garden pond. Yes, I know that all of […]