Arizona in Photos

At that this time of the month for the last few years I have always travelled to the state of Arizona. This year will be an exception as the current situation with the pandemic has literally ended all my travel intention. I thought therefore I will reflect via some photos on the areas I have visited in the last few years.

Sierra Ancha is a mountain range in Gila county in central Arizona. It now has improved roads which makes it easier to penetrate, and visit the many archaeological remains which exist.

Arizona for me is still the land of Agaves with many other succulents thrown in to the characteristic xeric landscape.

I love the succulents and I love them when the flowers are in bloom.

And it is important to remember this is the state of wonderful saguaros.

Plant Nurseries are numerous which means that if you are looking for seedlings and young specimens, you will find lots of them in Tucson and in Phoenix.

And there are the cities with active people.

Winston James in a cold wet London

Photos from Aripo Valley

The Aripo Valley is like a guardian of the northern range in Trinidad, and in many ways is a significant stop on your way to the main mountain peak, El Cerro del Aripo. Any time I visit the island, I make an effort to do some exploration within the area.  These photos demonstrate my love affair with nature especially as described in these tropical habitats.





Trees are always fascinating, and become much more so  when you encounter and experience the intricate going ons of the tropical jungle.  Lianas which are very prevalent are more than a curious surprise. Trying to work out where vines start or end is quite difficult.  Also interesting, at this level, is the way most other plants manage to survive without being intimidated by the numerous vines.


The ginger flowers and heliconias are always conspicuous in this setting, as the climate and humidity makes it easy for them to flourish.  It is not a valley that orchids and bromeliads  show off their bloom in great abundance, but the species are there to be observed.  Of course, the birds are everywhere, and without compromise make their music for us to hear.  Sometimes I feel ashamed that I am not able to identify the species as they flutter around.  But, I do know the humming birds,  and that’s a start.  Below, two photos from the Asa Wright Centre, which is great introduction to the Aripo Valley.


Agave Parryi var huachucensis

Sometimes a plant becomes an obsession. That is the way I feel about Agave parryi.  It is definitely one of the few Agaves which always present a great show whenever they are encountered.  There are variations in the species exhibiting many forms.  I love them all.  I love the truncatas, the couesis, and even the distant cousin neomexicana.  In habitat they are even more attractive, and are definitely worth the sometimes perilous journey to observe. They are exceedingly tough plants which can handle unpredictable wintry conditions very well.  Therefore, if you are that way inclined. and would like to try your hand at growing, seeds are the easiest route to take.  Careful nurturing will ensure their survival.  And that way you can never have too much of them.


Around Phoenix AZ

I have just spent a few days in Phoenix. Here are a few photos to prove it. I stayed at the Sheraton Downtown, and I was pleased as usual with the lovely bar which provided for all my needs. Although there are numerous hotels around I would rather be in the centre, because it gives me access to to all corners. But pride of place is always going to be the Desert Botanical Garden which takes a full day of my time.

Winston James

Museum Visit

British Museum Entrance

It has been a while since I have visited a museum. Recently I corrected this by paying a visit to the British museum in London. I wanted to see if the horrors of the pandemic had impacted on the crowd who normally visit these places. I was so right, as considering how well known the museum was, the building was almost completely empty. The intention also was to have a look around and decide what was the draw of the people visiting. Below are some of the photos that were taken,a mixture of the image which you would expect from the British Museum .

Yes, the Egyptian relics were still the crowds favorite

Yes, I was pleased to say that I enjoyed seeing much of the old favorites. There were no real surprises as far as the collection is concerned. Most of these items are much too heavy to move around, therefore I did not expectt to see any major changes. The scant crowd was helped by the fact that I chose a day when the rain was falling quite heavily. But it will be interesting to see how the crowd moves as the pandemic slowly retreats.

Winston James

LONDON: My Greenhouse

It is summertime, which means splashes of warm weather every now and then, after all this the UK. I am busy tending to my plant collection with an eye on my present Ebay sales which is going better than I expected. I have decided since my last foreign trip to avoid travel because of the confusion which now takes place for anybody who heads abroad. Since I am occupied with Greenhouse activity, I will share with you some of my plant images.

A photo above gives the a good expression of how I keep my plants in the greenhouse. with limited space, the intention is to keep the plants growing, especially as the intention is to prepare them for my Ebay sale catalogue. Considering this is a temperate climate, the greenhouse is my only ‘hot house’ and I have to make the most of it.

If you grow succulents like I do in a temperate climate, you will soon learn the difficulty of growing plants outdoors. It is not that you can cannot grow them reasonably well, it is just that there is never enough heat and sunlight to fulfil the complete cycle, and fruiting and flowering becomes quite difficult. For those of us who are quite ambitious, a greenhouse is the only alternative.

Aloe ‘Hellskloof Bells’
Aloe erinacea
Aeonium ‘Mardi Gras’
Agave chazaroi

Tree cactus I love growing. Most fit into the Epiphyllum range with names like Selenicereus Disocactus, Cryptocereus, Lepismium, Rhipsalis, Aporocactus and many others. The beauty of these is that you can hang them using the greenhouse in a different way. They need more watering and less sunlight, and can always be accommodated in selected corners.

Plants on EBAY:

Winston James Manor Park LONDON


Helsinki Main Station

With all the talk of war in Ukraine, I expected may be some problems, but i was quite wrong. Three days in Helsinki was without any issues and quite enjoyable. I stayed at one of the Radisson Hotels which was more than adequate for what I wanted. The city was pleasant and much more tranquil than the last time I was there. But in many ways it was easier to enjoy the short trip with little issues .

I flew there with Finnair, an airline which I had never used before and I was impressed with their style, and since they connected to the One World Alliance, I was able collect airmiles for the effort.

I did a lot of of walking around as I hoped to remember and compare this visit with the last time I was here. In spite of the proximity to war with the media constantly dramatizing all the worst scenarios, most people appear to be living a normal existence.

I thought this park was very curious even though it was quite empty. The weather was quite cool though nor freezing, and there was quite a bit of sun. This suggested most people were happy to stay indoors, or simply visit the malls.