A Mid-June Walk in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

‘My’ Swamp Cypress

Dear Readers, with the temperatures expected to be in the mid-eighties this week, it seemed that a walk in the shadier parts of the cemetery would be a good idea. However, first I wanted to say hello to ‘my’ swamp cypress, one of my (many) favourite trees. It’s looking very splendid at the moment, even though it’s a good few weeks later than I expected in greening up – the cold May certainly held it back.

It’s the changing of the guard again this week – as you can see from the photo above, the cow parsley is almost finished, but the hogweed is just getting going.

I always think that it looks as if it’s exploding from the stem like a firework.

This shieldbug seemed to be enjoying it as well – it’s the creature with the triangular patterns on it towards the centre of the photograph. Pretty sure it’s a hawthorn shieldbug (Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale) though they’re normally brighter coloured than this one.

The real star of the show this week, though, is the grass, which is waist-deep in some places. The chaps who do the strimming are having a real job keeping up. I quite like it wild, but for people visiting graves it can be a source of some distress. One lady that we spoke to had lost her mother to Covid a few months earlier, and not being able to keep her Mum’s resting place neat and tidy was a real source of distress.  Getting the balance right between the wild spots and the more neatly-groomed one is always going to be tricky, especially with council cutbacks, and such a large area to look after.

Grasses are definitely not my area of expertise, but these have piqued my interest. Let me know if you know what they are, readers! I shall do some research and get back to you. Just about the only grass I’m confident on is wall barley.

Perennial rye-grass (Lolium perenne)??

Cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata)??

It’s interesting to see how this year’s conkers are already forming on the horse chestnuts…

And the haws are already coming on the hawthorns.

However, spring isn’t quite finished for the birds – I saw a few unusual goings-on in the garden today, which I shall report back on tomorrow, and there was a song thrush singing his head off, so I thought I’d share the moment with you all. You can’t actually see the bird, so you can just relax and listen.

Along by the North Circular Road was a tree that looked like bird cherry, but is evergreen, with very shiny leaves. I’m thinking that it’s a close relative of cherry laurel, Portugal laurel (Prunus lusitanica) – it’s flowering just as the cherry laurel is finishing.

The ox-eye daisies are in full swing, too.

And look at this path. Doesn’t it just make you want to walk along it?

The hogweed always seems to know exactly where the sunny patches are.

And the Scotsman has the sun on his back too.

 

And all this abundance rather made up for what has happened on our road at home in East Finchley’s County Roads, because the council has been round with the glyphosate and have sprayed not only all the ‘weeds’, but the tree bed where my next door neighbour was growing some California poppies, and the poppy that had self-seeded under my lavender. We shouldn’t blame the people who are doing the spraying, because they are just doing what they’ve been told to do and are probably earning minimum wage for walking the streets all day, but Barnet Council should be listening to the locals, who largely don’t want weed killer sprayed willy-nilly around the places where they live.

My neighbour’s tree pit.

The weeds along the road

My ex-California Poppy

My California poppy last week (Eschscholzia californica)

The only good thing is that most of these annuals have already set seed, and so they’ll be back within a couple of days. And also, the man from the council missed the most enormous sow thistle that is hiding amongst the lavender flowers, which gives me a certain degree of glee. I feel a campaign for no-spraying coming on…..

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “A Mid-June Walk in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

  1. Anne

    Our neighbourhood has successfully campaigned against the use of weed killers on our verges. The only problem is that the municipality now ignores our suburb and does not even clear the storm drains. At least the wild plants can grow freely and, as we’ve had no ‘real’ rain for six years, I expect the blocked storm drains no longer matter … until we get a downpour!

    Reply
    1. Bug Woman Post author

      It will be interesting to see what happens when and if the rains start, Anne. But some London councils are also managing without weedkiller, so there’s no need to take this blitz approach.

      Reply
  2. Andrea Stephenson

    They’ve been tidying up the park at the end of our road. There was a ‘shoe tree’ there, with shoes hung from it so long that they’ve become part of the tree, covered in lichen and other things. The shoe tree is no more – tidying up the park has included getting rid of all the shoes…Swings have appeared where they’d been vandalised before, which is fine, but I hope there aren’t too many other ‘improvements’.

    Reply

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