The End of the Blossom in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

Leaves are out on the cherry plum

Dear Readers, on a rather chilly blustery April day it was no surprise to see that most of the blossom on the cherry plums in the cemetery had given up for the year, to be replaced by the familiar magenta-brown leaves. Such are the pleasures of spring – blink and you’ll miss them, so speedily do the changes come at this time of year. But fortunately, as one plant ‘goes over’ so another takes its place.

Wood forget-me-knots and Herb Robert

The forget-me-nots in the woodland grave area are in full swing, but if you look very carefully you’ll see a tiny rose-red flower nearly in the centre, which I think is the first herb Robert flower that I’ve seen this year. Soon they will be everywhere, but as herb Robert was the first ever Wednesday Weed back in 2014 I will always have a soft spot for it, even if it does smell of rubber tyres. No one is perfect after all. And what is this popping up? A euphorbia for sure, and I suspect wood spurge but a ‘domesticated’ variety (Euphorbia amygdaloides var robbiae). Let me know what you think, readers.

Some cuckooflowers are in full flower further along the walk through this part of the cemetery. I say hello to the swamp cypress but it is still in its winter sleep, so I have spared you yet another photo of twigs. However, I do point out to my long-suffering husband that the cuckooflower (otherwise known as lady’s smock) is a member of the cabbage family and I know that my work is done when he sighs and says ‘I know’.


Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis)

I notice this rather strange hairy plant growing alongside some of the graves in the open area next to the main road. I have not the faintest idea what it is, but my pals over on the Wildflowers of Britain and Ireland Facebook page come back with the news that it is field wood-rush (Luzula campestris) within about 30 seconds. I shall say little about it now, but I feel a Wednesday Weed coming on…

Field wood-rush (Luzula campestris)

The red deadnettle and ground elder is having a right old time of it under some of the horse chestnuts. It’s hard to do justice to these pretty little plants from a distance, but if I lay on my stomach to photograph them I fear that I’ll need a hoist to get me back up again.

And speaking of the horse chestnut, isn’t it coming on well?

The primroses have taken over from the lesser celandine in the more exposed parts of the cemetery

I think these are the female catkins of goat willow, but feel free to correct me! I find catkins rather confusing.

What I told you all was feverfew a few weeks ago turns out to be (ahem) Oxford ragwort (Senecio squalidus) – not quite sure how I can have mistaken the leaves are clearly very different.

And look at the cherry laurel, just coming into full flower! Once it warms up a bit the bees will be delighted, especially the queen buff-tailed bumblebee that I saw earlier who was attempting to feed from a bunch of artificial flowers. There are quite a few real plants in flower, as we’ve seen, so hopefully she’ll spot them soon. I sometimes wonder if the super-sized and coloured plastic flowers act as a kind of ‘super-stimulus’, enticing bees away from things that will actually feed them. I hope not.

Cherry laurel flowers

I was delighted to see that my mallard mènage a trois were back on the bank of the stream.

The male mallards really are in spectacular condition, even though one of them appears to have no head :-). I have a special fondness for those little curly feathers just above the tail, which appear to be called the ‘sex feathers’ because only the drakes have them. I’m sure they should be called something cuter than that.

And look, the first flowers are appearing on the cow parsley/Queen Anne’s Lace (Anthriscus sylvestris).

For a final treat this week, here are some violets, coming into bloom just as the lesser celandine are finishing. For the next few months it’s just one thing after another, but in a good way for a change. Now if only I could replicate that changing cast of characters in the garden, without any weeks when everything looks a bit ugh, I would be very happy.


4 thoughts on “The End of the Blossom in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

  1. Ann Bronkhorst

    Those perky feathers remind me of the kind of quiff Elvis and others of his generation used to sport.

  2. Alittlebitoutoffocus

    I forgot to mention that those goat willow catkins look similar to ‘ours’ but ours are not so vertical as the ones in your picture. Not sure if that means yours or mine is not a goat willow or the catkins can vary…?

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      They have male and female catkins which are a slightly different shape, Mike, but I think I’m going to have to wait for the leaves in the hope that they give me a bit more of an idea 🙂


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