A September Walk in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

Canna lily

Dear Readers, the gardeners of St Pancras and Islington Cemetery seem to have gone developed a passion for canna lilies this year, and very splendid they look too. They must have at least six varieties, in various shades of scarlet, peach, yellow and coral. Some have splendid stripy leaves as well.

It’s true that these plants aren’t great for pollinators, but they are bright and cheerful, And what do you think caused this very particular leaf damage?

Well, apparently it’s just a snail or slug, who made a deep hole in the leaf while it was still rolled up – when the leaf unfurls, it looks as if something has attacked it with a hole punch.

In other news, I was very taken by the multiple stems of this yew tree. I can just imagine what it will look like if it lives to be a thousand, like this one.

And then, who is this lurking in the wood?

A very handsome cat, that’s who. I imagine he lives in the flats that abut the cemetery.

The ivy is just coming into flower, so I had a look for ivy bees, but none so far.

Honeybee on ivy

My friend A had tipped me off about a potential new Wednesday Weed so I went to investigate, and sure enough there’s some very impressive white bryony (Bryonia diocia), a member of the cucumber family and again, very popular with the bees.

There were no foxes on the field this time, but I do love the way that the late-summer sun sometimes just touches a seedhead and illuminates it.

The Japanese Knotweed is in full flower. Someone asked me last week why there are only female flowers in the UK – in fact, nearly every Japanese knotweed plant outside Japan is a clone of the original mother plant. Japanese knotweed was a popular Victorian garden plant, and you can kind of see why when it’s in flower – it’s very architectural and requires very little upkeep. Presumably only female plants were imported, but in the US they are ‘lucky’ enough to have male and female plants. The males have brighter flowers and larger leaves, so I think it might just be luck that we didn’t get both sexes in the UK.

Female Japanese knotweed in full flower in the cemetery

Leaves and flowers of male Japanese Knotweed (from https://nyfablog.org/2013/09/09/japanese-knotweed-male-and-female-plants/)

And I do wish that people wouldn’t use balloons to decorate the graves or to celebrate parties. These two balloons are stuck in a tree where they’re a real hazard to birds.

So, after two weeks away it was great to be back in the cemetery. Autumn is coming on apace, and it’s my favourite time of year. But I couldn’t leave this post without sharing my most recent book purchase with you. I suspect that it might inspire some more adventures.



3 thoughts on “A September Walk in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

  1. Anne

    That book looks fascinating and I look forward to sharing some of your explorations! Japanese Knotweed is a prohibited plant in this country because of its rampant growth and invasive nature.

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      I wish it had been prohibited here as well, but the Victorians liked it (and they also liked Giant Hogweed and Himalayan Balsam) and so there you have it.


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