As an antidote to the drawing in of the days and the arrival of midwinter (which is what the festival now known as Christmas was originally all about) here is an alternative advent calendar celebrating some of the best of nature’s decorations that I’ve seen this year, with one new flower, fruit or seed for each of the twenty four days of advent.
The photos are all my own (which is why the quality is a bit erratic) and have all been taken this year, around the coast of Cornwall. Where possible I will try to use images I’ve not featured before on here, so click on the thumbnails for a bigger image and caption to tell you who, what, where and when. Oh and if I make any misidentifications – corrections in the comments section please!
Heath Spotted Orchid (Dactyloriza maculata) – Lizard Point: 26th May 2014
Globe Thistle (Echinops bannaticus) – Tregurnow, nr Lamorna: 3rd June 2014
Silver Ragwort (Senecio cineraria) – Whipsiderry, Newquay 25th June 2014
English Stonecrop (Sedum anglicum) – Pen Enys Point, Trevalgan: 5th June2014
Sheep’s-bit Scabious (Jasione montana) – Godrevy Head: 8th June 2014
Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) – Porthtowan: 9th June 2014
Leaf rosette – Foxgolve (Digitalis) – Downderry: 29th March 2014
Umbellifer (Apiaceae) with Soldier Beetles (Phagonycha fulva) – Mawgan Porth: 25th June 2014
Rose (Rosa sp.) – Lamorna: 2nd June 2014
Bramble/Blackberry (Rubus fruticosa spp.) – Polzeath: 25th August 2014
Small tortoiseshell butterflies (Nymphalis urticae) on Ivy flowers (Hedera helix) – Tregardock: 22nd September 2014
Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber) – Poltesco serpentine works: 23rd May 2014
White Early Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula) – Tregaminion: 5th June 2014
Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) – Gwithian dunes: 8th June 2014
Rose (Rosa sp.) and Great Green Bush Cricket (Tettigonia viridissima) – Holywell Bay: 10th June 2014
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) – Bosloe, River Helford: 10th May 2014
English Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) – Portscatho: 3rd May
Betony (Stachys officinalis) – Mawgan Porth: 25th June 2014
Small-flowered Cranesbill (Geranium pusillum) – Portscatho: 3rd May 2014
Elderflowers (Sambucus nigra) – Lamorna: 3rd June 2014
Elderberries (Sambucus nigra) – Port Gaverne: 22nd September 2014
Beautiful demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) on Hemlock Water Dropwort (Oenantha crocata) – St Levan’s Well, West Penwith: 3rd June 2014
Knapweed (Centaurea nigra) – Marsland Mouth: 25th September 2014
Black Bryony (Tamuss communis) – Crackington Haven: 23rd September 2014
Looking for something more festive?
So, Christmas Tree: how green are your branches?
Christmas is an incredibly wasteful time with 3 million extra tonnes of rubbish produced every year in the UK, including 8 million Christmas trees, which equates to 160,000 tonnes of waste if they all end up in landfill. But given that artificial trees are mostly made of plastic are they really a more environmentally-friendly option? Click on the link above, or the picture of the cat ‘helping’ decorate to find out more.