An East Finchley Update

Dear Readers, one thing that going for a daily walk before work has taught me is the restorative power of having something pretty to look at. Although the front gardens on my street are tiny, I love the effort that people have put into making them attractive. Here are a selection spotted in about two minutes.


I love the imaginative use of the gap in the brick wall here. Every season there’s something new.

I do love pampas grass. I know it’s a bit retro, but I love seeing the finches ripping bits off for their nests. This one has had lots of babies though, unfortunately.

This hebe is my number one plant within walking distance if I’m looking for late or early bumblebees.

I do love an imaginative use of pots.

Tutsan is really popular around these parts: a close relative of St John’s wort, it seems to flower forever.

And there are some fine apples and crab apples starting to appear.

Then it’s across the road to the Cherry Tree estate – these houses are later (1920s and 30s) with bigger front gardens, and some of them are gorgeous.

I thought that this fabulous plant might be a rhodichiton, but I’m sure one of you lovely people can let me know for sure 🙂

And I love this garden with its pond and little willow. Trees like goat willow are very important for early pollinators – I was wondering about getting a Kilmarnock willow for the garden for this very reason.

And the hibiscus this year! This garden has a blue one and a white one, and very fine they are too, so unexpected in a suburban road in North London.

And then it’s off to Cherry Tree Wood for a quick romp around the tennis courts and back to the main road. I am intrigued by this plant, which is growing very well. I am thinking Common Orache (Atriplex patula) but will have to go in closer for a proper look at the leaves. I am always hoping to find those Old English pot herbs Good King Henry(Chenopodium bonus-henricus) or Fat Hen (Chenopodium album) but no luck yet. What excellent Wednesday Weeds they would make!

Then it’s off to my favourite weed-spotting site, the unadopted road between the wood and Baronsmere Road. One thing that is doing very well is the Russian vine (Mile-a-minute plant) Fallopia baldschuanica). Well, what can you expect of a close relative of the dreaded Japanese Knotweed? I see that it also goes by the name of Bukhara Fleeceflower. Who knew?

I spy some evening primrose flowers, beloved by moths and a member of the willowherb family.

Lots of Japanese anemones are out too, a very reliable autumn plant in these parts, and tolerant of shade too.

When I get to the High Street, I see that the traffic light on the corner has been completely demolished. Usually a passing lorry just clips it until it is at a 45 degree angle, but this must have been a rather more substantial collision. As usual we’ll just have to be careful crossing the junction -pedestrians are definitely at the bottom of the pecking order in London generally, and at this crossing in particular.

And then it’s home. The buddleia outside my house are all but finished (although every time I think about cutting them back they throw another half-dozen flowers). What they do have is lots of honeydew on their leaves, which means that our little black and yellow friends the wasps are all over the plant, licking up the sugar. Methinks the pruning is going to have to be done with a watchful eye and great care. Fortunately it’s raining at the moment, so by the time I get to it maybe the problem will have eased a bit. Otherwise, wish me luck!

6 thoughts on “An East Finchley Update

  1. Fran & Bobby Freelove

    We agree that you can always make the most of your gardens no matter how small, a few pots with bee friendly plants can make all the difference. The plant you weren’t sure about looks like Abutilon, a member of the mallow family.

  2. FEARN

    I’m going Spear-leaved Orache (Atriplex hastata) for your orache with those characteristic leaves. I’ve never heard of anyone wishing for fat hen ever before! I think it is a tillage weed so is the curse of farmers.

  3. Vinod

    The unknown plant with the red flower buds could be Trailing Abutilon, Abutilon megapotamicum. Looks like it should be just about hardy for southern Britain. I found it by googling “Chinese Lantern plant” and image-hopping from there. The name “Chinese Lantern” usually refers to a ground-cherry, but I figured, looking at the flower buds on this plant, someone would have thought to call it that as well.


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