A Spring Walk in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

Dear Readers, one thing about feeling under the weather for a while is how glorious it feels when you finally feel better. And so it was that this morning’s walk in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery felt thoroughly new-minted, as if spring had gotten going in the fortnight since my previous walk. What I think is a Cherry-crab (Malus x robusta)  is just about coming into blossom, and very beautiful it is too, with the flush of pink at the centre and the almost purple buds.

I noticed a biggish thrush heading off into the treetops, and there was something about the way that it swooped that made me think it wasn’t one of the song thrushes that is often seen in this part of the cemetery. I gave many thanks for my x50 optical zoom on the camera, because this is a fieldfare, the first one that I’ve seen this year. These are big, bold birds, who will take on all comers in the garden. I love the frosted grey on the head, and the wings are a very dark red/brown. This one will be heading back to Scandinavia in a week or so, as the winter visitors head home and the spring ones arrive.


I had to stop by my favourite group of graves, which is absolutely alive with snowdrops at this time of year. Someone, once, probably planted just a few bulbs, and look at them now.

But in shady part of the cemetery there’s a much more unusual bulb coming into flower – Spring Snowflake or Loddon Lily (Leucojum aestivum). At first glance it looks much like a snowdrop, but the flowers are shaped like little hats.

But what is always glorious at this time of year is the crocuses along Kew Road. In truth, crocuses do best in full sunlight, so they always have a very delicate, etiolated look to them here, as if reaching languidly towards the sky. They are here, and then they’re gone, but they make a very fine sight.

On Withington Road there’s another area where the snowdrops have been left to do their own thing, and I love how they are gradually advancing across the forest floor.

A few of the daffodils are getting ready to pop too, though we’ll have to wait a while for the bluebells, which seem to be only just getting going. And I don’t know if the lesser celandine haven’t had a good year, or if they haven’t really got started yet, but they were noticeable by their absence.

So, it was so good to be back outside again – I always feel like I’m going slightly bonkers if I don’t get outside the house at least once a day. And as today (Sunday) is windy, cold and pouring with rain, I’m glad that I got some sunshine too.

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

  1. Ann Bronkhorst

    Glad you are well again.
    Loddon lilies are a lovely sight but if picked and put in a vase they smell nasty. I learned this the hard way.


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