29 July, 2018

Belize in November and London in July

Back in November, when Barnie was still an only dog, the 2 of us went on a walk along our seaside jungle path.
Barnie, running ahead of me.
We came across a patch of intersting mushrooms called stinkhorns in the genus Phallus - you can see where that name came from.  They are called stinkhorns because, depending on the species, they smell strongly or subtly of carrion to attract insects.
The cap, called the gleba, is covered with spore-filled grayish-green slime.  The beautiful lacy skirt is called the indusium.  The indusium of this specimen is a little torn.
 I'm not sure which species this is, it may be P. indusiatus.  
Perhaps this P. indusiatus, although the skirt looks more delicate than what is shown in online photos.

Most of the spore-filled slime has been eaten off this particular stinkhorn.

Quite a few ants going for these spores and a fly is waiting nearby to have its share.
These stinkhorns are pretty ephemeral, lasting for only a day or 2.  I was glad that I spotted them while they were still fresh looking.  You can learn more about stinkhorns here.

I also spotted a very pretty earthstar mushroom in the genus Geastrum.  They are little puff balls and emit a cloud of powdery spores when hit by raindrops or a curious finger.
Geastrum - stars on earth. 
Oddly, Barnie shows very little interest in mushrooms.  ;-)

And now for something completely different.

More recently, I was in the UK for a 2 week holiday in July with my 2 sisters, their husbands, and my brother.  Dennis was not able to join us; he stayed home with Barnie and Clove while I was off gallivanting with my family.  We started off in London for 2+ days and stayed at ABC Hyde Park Hotel in Paddington.
The garden area in front of the hotel.
The modest hotel had clean rooms and included a generous breakfast selection. Not really a place where you would hang out except to sleep and bathe, but located quite near Paddington Station and walking distance to good restaurants and pubs.
Green space near the hotel.
The first full day, we went to Kew Gardens for a large part of the day and then to St. Martin's in the Field for dinner in the Crypt followed by the main event of the evening - a delightful concert.

Kew Gardens was fantastic, although the grounds were a bit dry - we noticed the dryness and the heat during our entire trip.  But I could have kicked myself because I hadn't checked to make sure my new camera was fully charged.  It must have gotten turned on while I was packing it and that drained the battery.  So for Kew, I had to use my little Ipod camera.  But the images below give a hint of the beauty.
A tempting glimpse inside the newly renovated Temperate House.
One of the main objectives at Kew was to see the Temperate House.  It did not disappoint.
Classic design.

Display of bold coleus plants.

Fabulous leaf color.  Who needs flowers?

View from the catwalk.

Tree fern from above.

Delightful waterfall and pool.
We also did the Tree Top Boardwalk, gift shops, and had a tasty lunch at one of the cafes.  We could have spent days exploring, but alas, we had to get back to the hotel before setting out on the evening's adventures at St. Martin's andTrafalgar Square.  And I got to retrieve my now fully-charged new camera.

First, we cruised past the National Gallery.
Walking up the steps to the gallery.
And spent a few minutes in Trafalgar Square.

Behind Nelson in the square.
 And on to St. Martin's for dinner in the Crypt before the concert.
Street scene with street artist sketching 2 young boys in the foreground, school-age tour group with red backpacks, and St. Martin's in the background.
The interior of the church is very lovely and we had terrific seats for the concert - The Festive Orchestra of London performing Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi by candlelight.
Architectural detail over the altar.
The music was amazing , transporting the audience away from the sweltering heat. After the concert, we spent a few more moments enjoying Trafalgar Square at dusk.
National Gallery at dusk from Trafalgar Square.
Another item high on my list of things to see were the lions around the base of Nelson's column.
Stately animal. 
On relaxed guard.

And so our first full day ended with a stop at a pub on our way back to the hotel.


  1. I love how you leave Belize for London and go to the part of the Kew Gardens where the tropical plants are. I would do the same.
    Beautiful shots.
    And we have stinkhorn mushrooms here too, but they are the ones called Columned Stinkhorn. And they do indeed stink.

    1. Yep, can't stay away from vivid, lush plants. Glad you liked the photos. I wish we had had time to go to the Palm House dedicated only tropical plants.

      I think stinkhorns are cool. There are so many different kinds in all shapes and sizes. I saw some on our property that look little pink baskets covered in goo. I'll see if I can find those shots for a future post.

  2. A great set of photos Wilma. Amazingly, despite being a gardener living about 60 miles from Kew, I've never been there.

    1. Thanks, Derek. It was a little pricey to get in, but it was worth it for the 6 hours we were there. We did a good mix of touristy and not-so-touristy things on this holiday.

  3. Hello Wilma. Derek (above) recommended I visit your site - I am not disappointed - what a lot of beautiful photographs. I live in North Yorkshire and no longer get to London so have ot seen the new Temperate House at Kew other than on the television. Lovely too to read of Barney - do you have another dog now too?

    1. Thanks for visiting, Weaver. I could have spent a lot more time at Kew, but was very happy to get to see any of it. Yes, we do have a new dog who goes by the name "Clove". She is 8 months old now and is a great companion for Barnie.

  4. Oh, your phots are always exceptional. Love those mushroom shots! And London. You had the smarts to go in summer; we went in winter!

    1. I had to keep throwing sticks into the water to keep Barnie occupied while I was taking the mushroom shots. SG would have melted in the heat we experienced; but I much prefer the heat to the cold. You will just have to go again.

  5. Great to see you back again Wilma.
    When I was in my early teens we lived in South London and Kew was one place I would often pester my parents to visit.

    1. Hi John, thanks for stopping by. Kew is a special place isn't it? Did you have a camera in those days?

    2. No camera then. A few years later I was given a Kodak box Brownie which took b/w roll film. Showing my age here ;) My father used a Kodak folding camera. Unusual in that it had a slim panel which could be slid aside and you could, as far as I remember, write on the film with a stylus.


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