Welcome to The Garden Bench.

As an observer and photographer of life around me, often to be viewed from the garden bench, I have embarked on putting together a catalogue of my images of life by their classification as it is currently thought. This starts with the topmost classification of Life on Earth. As it is yet to be shown that physical life as we know it exists beyond our planet, that is our limit for life. There may be a bit of what is beyond our earth thrown in there too.

When it comes to cataloguing life, things have moved on a little from Animal, Vegetable, and Mineral. Back in Ancient Greece, particularly Classical Greece, the foundation of the 'Modern Western Civilization', Aristotle and his followers attempted the classification of both animals and plants. However, over the millennia this has proved very difficult and complicated. The advent of modern electron microscope has allowed science to compare things at the molecular and cellular level to produce very complex taxonomies of life.

This website aims to show the things that can be appreciated with the naked eye or basic photographic kit. Hence limits will be set for the types of life that fit into that basic strategy and not in any way attempt to be a comprehensive catalogue of Life on Earth.

Currently, and this is a work in progress, Life is split into 3 top-level Domains (superkingdoms, realm, empire). These are Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukarya. Eukarya contains more complex forms of life that have a cell structure that has a nucleus enclosed within membranes. Within this domain we find several kingdoms defined. The definition of these kingdoms is very much a work in progress and any idea that these are stable is obviously erroneous.

For now, we will concentrate on the working kingdoms of Plantae, Fungi, and Animalia. Work continues to better understand the relationship with these and other forms of life.

In the Plantae or Plant Kingdom are all the green plants (Viridiplantae) along with some Algae. The Plant Kindgom is then sub-divided into Phylum or divisions. Ongoing classification uses internal structure and means of reproduction to differentiate at least 13 specific divisions. In turn these divisions are sub-divided into Class then Order then Family. We will start at the family level to group similar plants.

Each family of plants is then sub-divided into Genus and then finally the Species. One list of plant life called The Plant List has 642 families, 17,020 genera, and 350,699 accepted plant species names. So plenty to go at then. This list groups the families into 4 major groups. Flowering plants (Angiosperms). Conifers, cycads, and allies (Gymnosperms). Ferns and fern allies (Pteridophytes). Mosses and liverworts (Bryophytes).

We simply aim to identify visually some of the more popular/familiar plants and how they relate in genus and families.