To plant or not to plant, is that the question?

When it comes to regeneration, nobody does it quite like everybody’s favourite Time Lord Dr Who. Except perhaps for trees! In a Guardian article at the end of September, environmentalist George Monbiot argued that we have “a national obsession with tree planting” but that actually allowing trees to self-seed and spread themselves naturally is a…

Park life

Happy birthday to Britain’s National Parks! This year marks the 70th anniversary of the 1949 Act of Parliament that created, to date, our 15 National Parks and 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). A shout out in particular to the newest kid on the block, the South Downs National Park, only established nine years…

Battling the skies (geddit?)

The plaintive tale of Britain’s last remaining greater mouse-eared bat, as told by Patrick Barkham in The Guardian last year, is one that will tug on even the most resistant of heart strings. Every winter for the last 16 or so years, this solitary male has returned to the same dank railway tunnel in West…

Floats like a butterfly

I am a huge fan of the American novelist Barbara Kingsolver who effortlessly melds natural science and fiction in visionary novels like Unsheltered. In Flight Behaviour, the mysterious apparition of mass kaleidoscopes of orange monarch butterflies choosing to overwinter in the cool climes of the Appalachians instead of the warm south conjures up the omnipresent…

Ladybird, ladybird

Not having a garden, it had never occurred to me that you can buy live ladybirds and get them posted to you! Around £16 for 25 native British adult ladybirds with food included in case you’re interested. Ready for immediate release to the garden to ward off all those pesky aphids attacking your prize roses….

Nature’s medicine chest

“Try nettle tea,” said the functional medicine practitioner I’ve been seeing. Er, why on earth would I want to do that, I thought? But, when I investigated a bit further, it seems that early civilisations used it for all sorts of ailments from reducing swelling caused by arthritis to relieving muscle aches and aiding kidney…

Man versus bird

Despite often thought of as bringers of good fortune, it’s been an unlucky time of late for birds in this country. What with the furore first over licences to kill thousands of endangered birds and then over the netting of trees and hedgerows to prevent our feathered friends from nesting. Hard times if you’re a…