Category Archives: Plants & gardens

Streamcombe Farm, gourmet B&B, 370 megapixel panorama

We went down to visit our friends Karen & Ian over the Bank Holiday weekend. As we went to leave it was glorious weather imaginable and it was a wrench to get away, but I had to quickly pop up the hill and shoot an experimental panorama, which I’ve stitched and uploaded using Microsoft tools for the first time.

If you don’t have Microsoft Silverlight you’ll have to install it, but it’s easy (just click on the button) and I think it’s worth it!

You can see the full version here, or better still click on the full-screen button to the right of the [-] & [+]

Continue reading Streamcombe Farm, gourmet B&B, 370 megapixel panorama

A Day At The (Horniman) Museum

The facade of the original 1901 building at the Horniman Museum
I was recently prompted to pay a long overdue visit to the Horniman Museum, round in Forest Hill, south east London. So last Sunday morning Oliver and I set off for the day.

Wow, it had changed incredibly since my last visit, back in the days when I was working on plant uses in the Centre for Economic Botany at Kew (my first job at Kew). With brand new galleries, a new aquarium, and the temporary travelling exhibition Myths and Monsters (from the Natural History Museum team) it proved to be a great day out.

Myths and Monsters
Myths and Monsters exhibition at the Horniman Museum Myths and Monsters exhibition at the Horniman Museum Myths and Monsters exhibition at the Horniman Museum Myths and Monsters exhibition at the Horniman Museum

Even the old natural history galleries, where one is rather fittingly invited to ‘step back in time’, provided some engaging displays; for examples skeletons of apes and early man, together with moulds of brain sizes, give a stark reminder of how we have evolved. Somehow these rather erudite displays seem suitably complemented by the over-stuffed walrus
which takes pride of place in the middle of the gallery.

At the Horniman the theme of culture is a constant one, and we found ourselves watching videos of brass shields being made in Benin, looking at mummies from Egypt, and gazing at the most amazing displays packed full of musical instruments of all shapes and sizes (with a nice little side room where you can try some out, though not the expensive guitars, much to Oliver’s disappointment!).

Lunch in the Conservatory at the Horniman Museum View over a dreary looking London from the Horniman Museum I shouldn’t forget the gardens. It was hardly the best time of the year to visit a garden, nor was the weather on our side, but it’s good to see that they have just got nearly a million pounds of Lottery money to carry out an extensive refurbishment, including rebuilding the bandstand (from where you get amazing views looking north over central London).

He’d hate me for saying this, but whether it was the stepping back in time, the change in surroundings, or simply a rare chance for us to spend one-on-one time together, Oliver was transformed from ’12 year old going on 18′ into the studious scholar, to the point where half the time he was telling me what things were!

Just goes to show the power of museums of all shapes and sizes, and you don’t get much wider a range of exhibit than the Horniman – well worth a visit, with a wide appeal to everyone.

Check out their website and their Facebook page

Aquarium jellyfish at The Horniman Museum The Horniman Museum Natural History Gallery at the Horniman Museum Like father like son - Oliver taking photos at the aquarium at The Horniman Museum

A ‘lost forest’ – Kew’s discovery in Mozambique, thanks to Google Earth!


Kew botanist Jonathan Timberlake recording vegetation on the steep slopes of Mount Mabu. Photo: Tom Timberlake

There’s a nice audio slideshow, with some stunning pictures, now available on the BBC site – Audio slideshow: Discovering a ‘lost forest’.

It’s covered in more depth on the Kew site – “Google Earth helps Kew put ‘lost forest’ of Mount Mabu on the conservation map”

Kew on Newsnight – Obama’s first 100 days: Environment

Always nice to see Kew being featured on high profile programmes like newsnight, and especially on such a prominent news story (overly so if you ask me, but that’s not important here!).

I particularly like the montage of a giant George Bush in the temperate House….

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Newsnight | Obama’s first 100 days: Environment.