Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Presidential Games...

No this is not a reference to any goings on in the US at the moment, It's more a comment about how much fun I have been having reading about and learning about the people who preceded me as President of the Cardiff Naturalists' (something I still consider to have been a great honour after many years)

I know I am reading about Victorian times and the way people looked at and thought about things was very different and you have to consider that some of t...he people who were appealing for great things to be done were also employers who expected hard work in unpleasant conditions. However to see amongst the former presidents the people who campaigned for things like the Free Library, Miners benevolent funds and for the establishment of many of the great institutions of the city I think shows people of vision

The list of pages with information about former presidents is growing at and I hope that some of the current members find this of interest.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

An Evening with Iolo Williams - Pictures from the evening

It was a SELL OUT ! and we had a wonderful time!

Even before the event it was clear that Iolo was a success with the crowd and he happily spent so much time having his picture taken that we had to ask some people to go directly in 

And it wasn't just the public who wanted a picture he made sure that the Museum warding staff felt welcome to pose for a picture

Once we did manage to get everyone to their seats, our president Chris Franks made the introductions and welcomed everyone to the event

It wasn't long before Iolo was entertaining us all with his tales of learning to tickle fish in his younger years

His explanations of how he had worked with the Gurka's and SAS on the protection of wild bird nests during his 15 years with the RSPB had the whole audience in raptures.

 And his tales of working with the television crews on many programs including springwatch (team in the background) were fascinating

Questions and Answers would have probably gone on all night had we permitted it !

but we had to bring things to a close with the drawing of our prize raffle (winner Judith Bradley collecting the first prize from Iolo)

After that we went into the main hall for the private reception for members.

Sorry if you have recently joined - we would have loved to have everyone through for that for everyone and new members included, but  it would have been cost prohibitive and we had to make that a member offer before the general ticket sales started

We did manage to get this picture of former and current presidents with Iolo.

From left to Right : - Steve Howe, Joan Andrews, Andy Kendall, Thomas Henry Thomas (statue of the 16th president created for the museum Dinosaur Babies exhibition), Linda Nottage, Iolo Williams, Patricia Wood, Chris Franks)

A good time was had by all...

Especially Chris ...

Friday, September 29, 2017

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

An Evening with Iolo Williams - Tickets On Sale Now

As part of the celebrations and in light of their close association with Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, 

Cardiff Naturalists' Society are hosting 
“An Evening with Iolo Williams” 

in the Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre at the Museum in Cathays Park, Cardiff, at 7:00 pm on October 5th 2017.

Famous Welsh naturalist Iolo will be talking about a whole range of topics, including insights into the making of his many natural history programmes for television, as well as a taking a question and answer session.

A "must be there" event for anyone interested in wildlife and nature
There will be a special offer on membership for anyone who comes to the Lecture to be able to "trade in" their ticket for a year's free membership

Friday, September 22, 2017

Do you know of William Adams (1813-1886)?

I didn't until I was given a box of glass slides which were found in a Church that was being turned into a community center in Cardiff so from then on I knew what he looked like, but not a lot more

Here's a copy of that picture : -

I was aware of his name from the records and of course his name is recorded in the first edition of the Society transactions

When we started researching the history of the Society the fact he was a geologist interested me and I decided to look for some more information

Like many of our former members and presidents he seems to have been driven to do good works wherever he was.

This has now gone into the 150th Anniversary web site to support our exhibition at the Cardiff Story museum you can see the page here -

Monday, September 18, 2017

Dyffryn Gardens Arboretum

On Thursday 14 Sept, Cardiff Naturalists took a tour of the arboretum at Dyffryn Gardens with the new arboriculturist Rory Ambrose. Rory started work at National Trust Dyffryn Gardens in November 2016, bringing with him many years’ experience of working at Kew Gardens.

He told us of the National Trust’s five-year plan to restore the arboretum to its former glory as a “woodland garden”, with the clearance of overgrowth to let important trees flourish, a greater emphasis on parkland tree species, and better integration with the rest of the Edwardian gardens.

Systematic tree planting started at Dyffryn back in the mid-eighteenth century. Among the oldest ornamentals are the Lucombe oak on the Archery lawn, thought to be over 400 years’ old. Reginald Cory and Thomas Mawson developed and extended the gardens at Dyffryn between 1906 and 1930, including the tree collection in the form it is seen today. Unfortunately, there was a period of relative neglect for several decades, up to 1997 when Vale of Glamorgan Council purchased Dyffryn Gardens. The National Trust acquired the house and gardens in January 2013.

We started our walk by the visitor centre, stopping first at Kennel Bank to the left of the path to Dyffryn House. The heather beds established in the 1970s have now gone. This area is being prepared as a wild flower meadow, with some new areas of heather being replanted. Around 80,000 bulbs are to be planted on the bank, including 6,000 crocus bulbs of several varieties. The long-term aim is for a pastoral woodland landscape, which will include native orchids.

The 22-acre arboretum at Dyffryn is divided into 37 areas for the purposes of management. Rory explained that the plan was to concentrate on restoring 5 to 6 areas, such as the Kennel Bank, each year, “to do small areas really well rather than spreading ourselves too thinly”.

Walking up the path into the arboretum from here, we pass the first of many Champion Trees: an elm. The focus is on UK Champions: those trees that by virtue of their girth, height or distinctive characteristics are considered to be the best examples of their kind. One aim, in the next few years, is to establish a new Champion Tree trail, to guide visitors to these outstanding specimens.

Noting some of the characterful and quirky tree shapes, Rory noted the role of Victorian nurseries, where seedlings could become pot-bound before planting. “Today’s nurseries are too good,” jokes Rory, as they result in more uniform trees!

Unfortunately, some of the Champion Trees have suffered through insufficient woodland management. At least three UK Champions in the Crataegus (hawthorn) collection, for instance, have died amidst the overgrowth; the clearing of which is a major management challenge for Rory and his team.

Among the other UK Champion Trees pointed out by Rory were a magnificent hornbeam (Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’), and Dyffryn’s famous Acer griseum, grown from a seed bought back from Asia by the plant collector Ernest Henry ‘Chinese’ Wilson. This tree is now approaching the end of its life, and a barrier prevents people walking on its root plate. However, the main aim is to propagate a new tree from its seeds and plant it nearby, not an easy task as the germination rate is relatively low.

Rory showed us where he and his team are creating a natural play area from the timber of fallen mature trees. Nearby, and off limits to the public, a large concrete pad had recently been laid in the composting area. The plan is for Dyffryn Gardens to be 100% self-sufficient for green waste (compost and mulch) in the near future.

The tall yews that formed the boundary between the arboretum and the formal gardens have gone, opening up views and enabling the team to integrate the woodland area better with the gardens as a whole. Other plans for Dyffryn Gardens include the creation of a heritage orchard.

We looked at a particularly fine Metasequoia, near a delightful gourd tunnel in the walled gardens, before finishing at the Rock Garden – another area where there are plans for creating much more botanical interest within the next five years.

Back at the entrance, we thanked Rory for a highly informative and entertaining tour of the arboretum. I am sure we will all be returning to see how the National Trust’s ambitious plans transform this area back toward the vision of Dyffryn Garden’s original founders.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Happy Birthday from the RSPB

Many people have wished the society best wishes recently and we are very pleased to hear from them

Particularity nice  was this card from the RSPB Cymru Director, Katie-Jo Luxton with a wonderfully appropriate Red Kite on the cover

(I hope they don't mind me sharing- I would provide a link, but I cannot find it in their shop)

Such a nice dedication to the Society 

Here and Here  are some articles about the issues that were witnessed by the CNS in the 1880's and the efforts that the Society went to in order to get the protection of birds legislation actually enforced

It was said that Morrey Salmon knew the location of all the Rad Kite nests when they were at their minimum and I am sure that Iolo Williams who is speaking to us on 5th of October will have some tales to tell of looking at this wonderful bird so much associated with Wales

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