Archive for 06/10/2014


My recent stay in Johannesburg fortunately coincided with the World Orchid Conference and Show, sometimes called the Olympics of Orchids, at the Sandton Convention Centre.

World Orchid show

The Theme was “Gold in the Green Age”, reflecting the natural riches of southern Africa and the need to balance the exploitation of these riches with the preservation of the natural environment.

South Africa has almost 500 wild orchids, many only growing in SA. In Gauteng,the home province, there are 54 recorded wild orchid species, mostly terrestrial grassland orchids much threatened now by urban development.

World Orchid Show

I loved the Cape Orchid Society’s Stand which recreated a botanist’s study, complete with microscope and small reference library.

Botanist's study, World Orchid Show, Johannesburg Botanist’s study, World Orchid Show, Johannesburg

There were representatives from the orchid societies across South Africa, including the local Witwatersrand Orchid Society, whose emblem is the spring-flowering Leopard orchid (Ansellia africana).

Leopard orchid Leopard orchid

There were participants from Denmark, Ecuador…

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Official blog of the Met Office news team

There are some headlines in the media today which suggest the UK faces another mild, wet and stormy winter this year based on the latest Met Office three month outlook for contingency planners.

Every month the Met Office updates its three month outlook for contingency planners, which is available for anyone to view on our website.

However, it’s not like a normal weather forecast. It’s an experimental and complex outlook based on probabilities which is designed specifically for those who plan ahead for various contingencies based on possible likelihoods.

As we’ve discussed previously, the outlook assesses the likelihood of five different scenarios for both temperature and rainfall for the whole of the UK for the whole three months, based on the most probable prevailing weather patterns.

It’s a bit like the science-equivalent of factoring the odds on a horse race and like any horse race, it’s always possible the…

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