Venus flytrap excitement

This plant sits on the kitchen windowsill. We love having interesting plants in the house. This insectivorous plant is a brilliant plant for interest. It catches flies in its spring like traps and now has put up six flower stems.

Last year we had a flytrap flowering but only a couple of flower stems so this is a real treat. These plants are easy to look after if you remember to water them. They need wet conditions and the pot always has water in the tray. Most books say they need rain water but we only use tap water and they seem to grow fine.

The other plants that are also insectivorous and great to grow are pitcher plants .

These act as a pitfall trap and digest insects that fall into the watery depth of their pitchers.

These trumpet pitchers (Sarrecenia) are available in garden centres and can be grown successfully in the house with care. They look spectacular.

Back to the kitchen Venus flytrap . The structure of the plant is interesting.

These modified leaves are traps for insects. They have sensitive hairs inside that act as a trigger. The two sides can close in a tenth of a second. These plants come from poor soil areas of North America such as north and South Carolina. The plant gains nutrients from the insects it traps and digests.When the trap is shut glands produce enzymes that digest the insect , the chitin of the exoskeleton and the nitrogen rich blood. This can take several days. The leaf will then reopen and the husk of the insect blows away.

First Ice

This morning winter had arrived, the car needed to be scrapped and needed to defrost.

The clear water on the boat cover was full of leaves and was beautiful .

This water is just collected in a tarpaulin but makes wonderful pictures.

The day has been very cold , the first icy morning of the year.

Issue 2 of Explorations

The second Issue of Explorations, the magazine of naturetableexplorer.com is really taking shape.

Articles are in, pages are being designed and proof reading has started.

This issue is crammed with great articles and features including exploring Iceland, Devon beauty , wild boar, poetry , and more.

If you would like a copy of issue 1 or this new issue as it is published (Dec 5th) you can purchase on PayPal at naturetableexplorer@yahoo.com.

Subscriptions are available, three issues a year and three newsletters so none of the year is missed !

This is a non profit project promoting and developing a love of natural history and the wonderful natural world.

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Blow away the cobwebs

It certainly has been a day to blow away the cobwebs and anything else that was standing in the way .

The weather is not the best today with wind and periods of rain. A walk full of autumn colours at Rushden Lakes definitely gives you a spring In your step .

As the leaves fall with this autumnal weather the paths are lined with colour and draw you on.

Even puddles look interesting.

Some areas of scrub and woodland are becoming wet and full of pools, providing different habitats as the year moves on.

This area of scrubby trees is often full of goldfinches and long tailed tits.

There were plenty of squirrels on the walk today, they seem busy finding food and preparing for winter.The fallen leaves frame everything in a halo of colour.

The river Nene is very high after all the rain and flowing quickly. The only birds we saw today were a few swans, a pair of great created grebes and some coots.

Moss thrives in these damp conditions , this tree stump seemed to be sporting an emerald green moss sock.

A quick walk to blow the cobwebs away was full of colour and interest. Two loops of the lake just two miles but so much to see and enjoy. Afterwards feeling refreshed and ready for the day !

Misty morning

It was below 4 degrees this morning , the lake was shrouded in mist.

It was rather like an impressionists view of the morning.

The moisture in the air highlighted spiders night time work and clung in a thin layer to our fleeces.

The lake was very mystical and beautiful added to by ghostly swans.

The trees framed gorgeous pictures as we walked round.

Teasels stood tall as spider web posts as other growth collapses with the cold.

A really beautiful morning walk.

Best foot forward

Walking boots on for an autumn walk at the beautiful Hidcote Manor in the Cotswolds.

It is so quiet here just birds to listen to it is a little piece of paradise.

The gardens here are full of surprises , they are rooms of yew hedges leading from one area to another.

Although the borders are less dramatic than summer they were full of wonderful colours and textures.

This is a fantastic place to discover, there are paths, bridges,stepping stones and a wilderness.

The view from the wilderness across the Cotswolds rolling landscape is wonderful.

There were surprising large amounts of flowers still giving plenty of colour.

Autumn can be seen by the colours changing and the toadstools arriving. The leaves are only really just beginning to turn in about two weeks it will be amazing.

Another find at this time that I love is leaf skeletons that are appearing on the soil.

At the other side of this amazing garden is an area of vegetables, orchards and glasshouses. The glasshouse is full of some tropical wonders.

The apple trees were incredible but not picked and so many apples lying on the ground.

I loved these pots all piled up ready for next years growing.

An unusual yellow holly caught my eye , it would look lovely With the Christmas flowers.

Hidcote is a wonderful place to explore. It is managed by the national trust, there is a car park, a cafe and parking and definitely worth some time exploring !

Wasp heaven

We sat outside yesterday afternoon with a cup of tea and Tim had a cream scone. There were no wasps unlike a few months ago . The numbers are very low.

After a while one wasp came to check out the raspberry jam, I decided it deserved a feed up . The video of the wasp in heaven is worth a look !

The only wasps to survive the winter are the queens who will hibernate and start a new colony in the spring. The males will all die .

Although through the summer months the wasp is cursed and swatted by picnic goers and cream tea eaters it is worth remembering that they are important part of the ecosystem.

Walking on leaf carpets

An amazing October day at Batsford arboretum with blue skies .

The leaves are changing slowly and beginning to fall.

Leaf carpets are forming.

It is surprising the variety of carpet patterns as we walked around.

Lots of colours and shapes.

All sizes

Here is a gallery of carpets.

Every visit to Batsford is full of wonderful discoveries.

Not your normal nut

I love collecting hazelnuts , eating them on a walk is a treat. This year the hazel trees have been loaded with these tasty treats.A walk through Kettering a few days ago turned up an unusual hazel tree with very spiky cases.

The nuts in these are smaller , they are called Turkish hazels (Corylus colunda).

These hazels are often grown as ornamental trees and grow well in urban areas. The nuts are very striking.

It is great to discover new things when you aren’t expecting it .

Our rabbits are very fond of hazel leaves , it is their favourite food .

London Adventure

We boarded the 08.22 to London this morning for a London adventure . The weather was warm and the sky blue as we sped into St Pancras.

Walking through the park in Russel Square it was full of primary school groups having fun, people enjoying the sun and fantastic London Plane trees.

These wonderful trees account for over half of London’s tree population.

It was ‘discovered’ in the mid 17th century in John Tradecsant’s nursery in Vauxhall.

It is a hybrid of the American sycamore and the Oriental Plane.

The trees were planted in large numbers during the industrial revolution when pollution levels were high, these trees with their peeling bark layers are hardy to difficult conditions.They also require little root space.

Some of the oldest planes in London can be found in Berkley Square, there are about 30 trees planted in1789.

They are very attractive trees. Today in the park some of the leaves have already fallen, the gardeners were sweeping and leaf blowing them up. This will be an ongoing task !

Walking further by the front of the British Museum there are some fantastic specimens along the road. They are amazingly tall as you can see in the photos against the tall London houses.

Walking further along museum road we discovered a shop full of some of my favourite things.

The window display was brilliant.

They even had the elusive mammoth tooth Rowan and I went searching for in August !

It’s just not the same to buy one it’s back to Norfolk for us to discover one of our own.

A great day out !