Sunday, 13 February 2011


Spring is well and truly underway here in SW TK with lots of Romulea tempskyana, Iris unguicularis and ivory-white Astragalus lusitanicus in flower (our small colony of sweet-scented Narcissus tazetta were a treat back in January), whilst today I noticed a large Muscari muscarimi about to open on a huge boulder only ten minutes walk from the house.  As the season moves on it will just get better and better, loads of crocuses, colchicums and of course snowdrops up on the yaylas and among the magnificent cedars on Tahtali Dag our local peak.  By April we’d expect the first stunning orange-red and yellow flowers of Lathyrus belinensis to be out and when they peak a couple of weeks or so later the roadside banks are smothered along with dozens of other herbs, orchids and Fritillaria acmopetala.  Last year we found an amazing population of purple Limadorum abortivum with at least a hundred spikes sprouting up either side of a track and there was an amazing display of Iris purpureobracta, Fritillaria elwesii and Paeonia mascula at another location near Finike.  Hopefully we’ll get a chance to revisit some of these places, especially as we need pics for our other book ‘Flowers of SW Turkey.  Certainly we’re taking on plenty of work, but this region is crying out for a pictorial flora with so many superb plants on show so we’re going to try and create both works at the same time.  The flora will contain around six hundred of the most showy and widespread species in the region to give a good insight into the richness of the area especially the many bulbous species for which the SW excels.  The area covered in the book extends from Fethiye to Alanya and the inland mountain areas.  Getting the pics for these is a bit of challenge fitting it in around our tour programme, but somehow we’ll manage and besides we already have around half.

We’ve now finished the draft spreads of ‘Flowers of the Silk Road and Shangri-La’ at least to date, there are still some pics to add later on, but essentially the first 327 pages are complete, just the text to add so here are three more spreads to look at;

Tuesday, 1 February 2011


The first draft of the photo spreads for the book will be completed this week so to keep things ticking over on the blog we want to change the sample selection every few days so keep en eye on the COMING SOON post. 

This time last year Chris was in Socotra a stunning and remote island in the Indian Ocean administered by the Yemen.  The endemic flora there was quite something with amazing dragon tree forests, wonderful succulents of which many of grew to tree-size and ancient frankincense trees set among pristine and wild landscapes.  There are few roads and no dogs, only thousands of goats the mainstay of the local people, but a menace for many plants, so at times you have to search for many species among crevices in the limestone or on inaccessible outcrops.  Nonetheless it still is a largely unspoilt place and worth every effort to get to. 

Sadly the current political climate meant our trip to Socotra this February was cancelled.  We were both going to this amazing island, but hopefully next year it will be ok to visit again and stand on spotless white sand beaches that stretch for miles alongside an intensely azure sea with no sign of a beach umbrella or jet-ski.

So for this year our tour season will now start in March when, Chris will be off to Andalucia in Spain where there will be a fine show of Narcissus, Iris planifolia and early bee orchids as well as some great birding followed by various trips around Turkey.  Ba┼čak will be taking people around the western Taurus looking for spring bulbs after that, lots of snowdrops, crocuses and sweet-scented Muscari muscarimi.  We’ll be posting our favourite shots from these tours each time we return.  For now here are a few from Socotra;

Caralluma socotrana

Adenium obesum

Dragon Trees (Dracaena cinnabari) in the mist

Dunes at Omeq Beach

Reflections of Hagier Mountains

Oldenlandia pulvinata