September 2019 was the start of the school year, as well as the start of yet another year of University for myself! This will be my 8th… Continue reading
Publications can take time – it has been almost six months since I first submitted this paper and years since the start of the research towards it! Continue reading
Posted in PhD research, Public Engagement with Science, RHS research
Tagged #PowderyM, BLAST, Citizen Science, DNA barcoding, Erysiphaceae, Erysiphales, ITS, Mcm7, Molecular markers, Mycologia, Oli Ellingham, Oliver Ellingham, Phylogeny, Powdery Mildew, Publication, Survey
This gallery contains 2 photos.
Here is the poster I delivered at the State of the World’s Fungi (SOTWF) Symposium 2018. This was a grand and audacious event incepted and hosted by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
I’m heading to RHS Chelsea 2019!
To complete the RHS Chelsea survey, click here.
I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019, with an exhibit called Ornamental plants: our future invaders? in the Discovery Zone. This is part of my PhD project on identifying ornamental plants with invasive potential. This is an exciting (but equally daunting) opportunity; to be at what is arguably the most famous of flower shows. I remember watching TV coverage of the Show many years ago with my Taid (grandfather), who originally got me interested in gardening. I’ll be writing a few blogs as I prepare for the Show. Firstly, the inspiration for the concept. Continue reading
This image is licensed from Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Are you on Santa’s Naughty or Nice list this year? If all you’ve discovered in the toe of your stocking this morning is a lump of coal, it might not be as terrible a present as you think. Look closely, and you might find that Father Christmas has brought you a fossil plant or two!
Coal is formed from dead and only partially decayed plant material. Essentially it is peat that has been subjected to heat and high pressure changing it from the soft brown material widely used in gardening into the hard black coal. Continue reading
Neither my partner Ben nor I actively celebrate Christmas. We prefer to hide away from the crazy world that Christmas has become and endeavour to find ourselves as far away from humanity as we are able. Previous years Christmas avoidance techniques have seen us winter climbing on a mountain in Snowdonia, snowed in in a bothy on an off-grid peninsula in Scotland and searching for Narcissi in the driest parts of the highlands of the Negev desert. Last year we found ourselves, on Christmas day, in a little explored valley on a mountain in South Africa; an adventure that I will tell you about forthwith. Continue reading
Photo © Claire Smith
As children I’m sure we’ve all sprinkled far too much glitter onto a pine cone and hung it from the Christmas tree… but have you ever wondered where your festive pine cones come from?
Well, you could have a look through this Forestry Commission 1966 “Know Your Conifers” booklet with cover art by Charles Tunnicliffe. If you’d prefer a paper version to the PDF, The MERL have both the 1966 and 1970 editions in their library. You can phone the The MERL on 0118 378 8660 if you’d like to make an appointment to have a look. Their collections also include further examples of Tunnicliffe’s artwork, including the seasonal “What to Look For…” Ladybird books.
Thymus in flower
Sage and onion stuffing seems to be the norm for stuffing a Christmas turkey, but what about using thyme? A Google search produced 9 million results! A quick look through the first five pages of the search shows that thyme can be mixed with a variety of plants. The most common are : onions, parsley, apple, lemon, orange and chestnuts.
But what exactly is thyme?
Thyme or to provide its correct botanical Latin genus name: Thymus vulgaris L.  is a member of the Lamiaceae (mint family) and according to Mabberley  thyme is distributed from the West Mediterranean to South East Italy. Continue reading
With four previous years of Advent Botany I was surprised that none of us have so far covered coffee. OK, it’s not a Christmassy spice, or a festive decoration, but by this time in the year I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling more than my usual need for this botanical pick-me-up. As we reach the shortest day of the year a good cup (or several) of coffee is pretty much all that’s keeping me from attempting to hibernate. Continue reading
I am still pondering why a pagan spirit of the dead, or, more recently a demoted angel, should play such a big part in Christmas – for Christmas certainly wouldn’t be the same without a fairy at the top of the tree or strings of fairy lights illuminating more than you thought humanly possible. Continue reading