The End of May in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

The highpoint of the cow parsley show?

Dear Readers, I have been fascinated by the speed at which the massed ranks of flowers come and go in the cemetery. One week it’s full of forget-me-nots and the next it’s ablaze with buttercups. This week, the rhododendrons have just opened, and, in spite of the honey made from it being hallucinogenic, the bumblebees were very enthusiastic (see the pollen baskets on the bee on the right of the photo).

The meadow in the woodland grave area is full of red campion…

And the swamp cypress is greening out nicely…..

Under the horse chestnut trees, the masses of ground ivy and violas have been completely submerged under a sea of black medick, a tiny yellow clover.

But what really catches my eye this week are the patches of germander speedwell. I thought that the forget-me-nots were blue, but this plant is an intense lavender-blue colour.

Germander speedwell

Elsewhere, the red clover is coming into flower, and I am wondering if some of these flowers are actually the slighter rarer zigzag clover (Trifolium medium). I should have bent down and had a closer look – the flowers of zigzag clover are on a stalk, whereas those of red clover are more or less stalkless. Maybe next week I’ll have the wit to bend over for a closer look.

On the path next to the North Circular Road the salsify flowers are out in force, and very pretty they look too, though I remain puzzled as to how on earth they got here.

Salsify flowers

The herb Bennett (wood avens) is in flower too.

Herb Bennett (Geum urbanum)

I have this all over my garden, along with herb Robert, greater celandine and green alkanet, and to tell you the truth I’ve rather given up the battle in some of the damper, shadier places. The plants that thrive there are perfectly suited to the habitat, and only this week I got into a gentle Facebook argument with someone who, when told that the plant they’d photographed was herb Robert, said ‘Oh, I thought it was a wild geranium’. It is, of course, a wild geranium, and not only is it very pretty in its place, but it is also often visited by pollinators, like this green-veined white (Pieris napi).

And finally, here is a last burst of germander speedwell blue, to power us through the week. Who knows what will have taken over from it by next week?

5 thoughts on “The End of May in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

  1. Alittlebitoutoffocus

    We have some red campion popping out at the moment too. Though there is usually a lot more. The speedwell has been around for a few weeks. But the usual mass and variety of flowers are conspicuous by their absence in the fields. Though the last few days have been quite warm, so maybe things will start to happen soon.

    1. Alittlebitoutoffocus

      Sorry I missed your quiz. Jude and I are now on the way to the UK. France seems to be more bluster than action on the COVID rules. Wish the UK were as relaxed at the border!

  2. Anne

    This must surely have been one of your more uplifting walks: so many flowers to see on your way. I have found this both interesting an entertaining.

  3. FEARN

    You describe well the progression of flowering. I think we are a week or to later than you so I am forewarned of what to expect next. (Not overlooking the regional variation – but Herb Robert, Green alkanet, buttercups and clovers are ubiquitous) I know what you mean about giving up on resisting these plants that grow where little else will grow.


Leave a Reply