Archives for posts with tag: trees

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The legendary figure Pocahontas was born Matoaka in 1595 in Werowocomoco, Virginia. Most people know the Disneyfied version of Pocahontas, the daughter of Chief Powhatan, who spared the life of John Smith, an Englishman who captured Indians whilst trying to take over their land. This has never been verified, much like the exact location of her burial site.

After being captured by the English in 1613, she went on to marry an Englishman named John Rolfe, taking on the moniker Rebecca Rolfe. They had a son named Thomas in 1615.

Pocahontas died at age 22, in Gravesend, Kent, of unknown causes and was buried at St George’s Church.

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This statue commemorates her life.

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I’m so happy to be writing a travel post again, especially one on a country I have wanted to visit for a long time: Norway, land of fjords, lakes and snow-capped mountains, and the most beautiful country I have seen so far, the town of Olden in particular. From above Olden literally looked like a model village, to the point that I thought it was some kind of mirage. Lush green trees crept up the hillsides dotted with colourful wooden houses, with great waterfalls speeding down the mountains.

On the way to the glacier trail I photographed a large turquoise-hued lake that I could have sat next to at all day. I really wanted to find a rowing boat and get out on the water.

I then hiked for 45 minutes uphill past waterfalls, goats and grass-roofed huts to Briksdal glacier. It was my first time seeing a glacier, and it was an impressive sight; they really do look blue close up. At the bottom of the glacier was a small turquoise lake, which looked beautiful next to the rugged landscape, although alarmingly a man who has lived in the town since 1998 informed us that when he arrived in Olden, there was no lake.

An equally pretty place was the small town of Eidfjord, with the opportunity for kayaking and of course more hiking.

The Norwegian landscape was everything I imagined it to be and more, like the Scottish Highlands but even more rugged, with higher mountains and clearer lakes.

I hope you enjoy the photographs.

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Mainly found on ancient woodland, bluebell woods in full bloom are a wondrous sight. Violet-blue flowers blanket the earth in Heartwood Forest, Hertfordshire, as sunlight floods through the great trees above. It’s easy to see why bluebell woods are so intrinsically linked with fairies and magic.

Bluebells are a protected species in the UK, which is home to up to 50% of the world’s population. Heartwood Forest is also home to many species of butterfly. I saw this European Peacock on a path near the glade.

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This Forest is protected by the Woodland Trust.

Today was the first day in a long time that the rain stayed away for the entire day. I was able to leave the house without a jacket and took a relaxing walk down by the Thames, close to where I live in Berkshire.

Green leaves had appeared on the branches of the oaks and the willows, and the river was abundant with wildlife; swans, ducks and geese were enjoying the water, and many of them stopped to say hello. I’m looking forward to seeing their cygnets, ducklings and goslings soon too.

I recently spotted two Rose-ringed Parakeets on the tree outside my window but sadly they left before I could photograph them.

Last summer I encountered a dragonfly in the house, which was a new experience for me. It was around the size of a large butterfly, and had an iridescent petrol-like sheen, which was visible in its languid movements. These are creatures I have only seen in nature documentaries and books so hopefully I will get another chance to photograph them both this year, as well as any other interesting animals who choose to visit my garden.

Fingers crossed for a good summer.

Autumn has got to be my favourite season. Russet-hued falling leaves, chestnuts, that crisp, fresh air, and of course an abundance of pumpkins. Sadly, this is the only time we get to see pumpkins in the UK, so it was nice to see so many of them (75 varieties), and so proudly displayed, at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in Richmond, Surrey.

In the Waterlily House, a pumpkin pyramid featuring varieties of pumpkins from all over the world, many of which I had never seen before, such as the Red October and the Buttercup – which is black – rose from the water. Around the edge of the pond, there were pumpkin displays from different continents, featuring traditional recipes and ingredients.

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Kew Gardens, as it is more commonly known, was founded in 1759, becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. It is a world leader in plant science and conservation.

As well as beautiful plants, trees and flowers, Kew Gardens features many decorative structures, the tallest of which is the Pagoda. It is 163 feet high and has 10 stories, completed in 1762. The size of the Pagoda is impressive and looks fabulous from a distance, but it doesn’t look particularly interesting close-up. It was once adorned with 80 gold dragons and was very colourful. After restoration, it unfortunately looks a little bland.

Another decorative structure is The Japanese Gateway, a replica of the Gate of Nishi Hongan-ji (Western Temple of the Original Vow) in Kyoto, although it is not as large. It was built in 1910 and the landscaping has been specifically created to complement the Japanese design.

Kew also has eight glasshouses including The Palm House, designed by Decimus Burton and engineered by Richard Turner. It was constructed between 1844 and 1848 using iron and 16,000 panes of glass, at a time when the Victorians started to import tropical plants to Europe. It features a walkway around the top so you can look down on all of the palms and exotic blooms. In the lower level of the Palm House there is an aquarium with seahorses and upside down jelly fish – a new one on me. I think one of the seahorses was pregnant: his belly was huge!

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A newish addition to Kew is the Xstrata Treetop Walkway, an 18 metre (59ft) high construction, which opened in 2008. It was nice walking around the path amongst the tree tops but if you’re looking for a view, there isn’t much to see beyond the leaves.

Overall, Kew Gardens is a very nice day out, one that would be enjoyed by all ages. It’s the kind of place that you’d want to visit every season. The squirrels, geese and peacocks seem to agree.

The pumpkin displays last until November 3rd. Adult tickets cost £14.50, open daily from 9.30am. Visit http://www.kew.org for more information and upcoming events.