In St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

The Swamp Cypress in all its glory

Dear Readers, what a few weeks it’s been! Between my exam, my visit to Barnwood, a trip to Somerset for my Aunt’s memorial service in the middle of a train strike and four days’ worth of Away Days at work, my size 8 feet have barely touched the ground. But now things are getting back to normal and  so I was able to have a sleepy meander around St Pancras and Islington Cemetery to see what was going on. First up was ‘my’ swamp cypress, all in green and looking very fine.

The woodland burial area is full of knapweed at the moment, and the bees and butterflies are loving it. There was a female Meadow Brown butterfly….

A leaf-cutter bee (Megachile spp) whose whole abdomen was coated in pollen (these bees don’t have the pollen baskets of some other species, and so may actually be better pollinators than their better-known relatives – the pollen is more easily transferred because it hasn’t been collected and stuffed into a ‘container’.

And here is a classic bumblebee, probably a buff-tailed (Bombus terrestris). Strange as it may seem, the summer is already coming to an end for many bumblebees, with queens emerging and looking for a chance to feed up and then hibernate. Summer is earlier for many creatures than it is for us.

There’s also lots of bindweed about. If it wasn’t such a thug, I reckon that everyone would be planting it for the beauty of those snow-white flowers. The bumbles love this one, too.

I love these tiny acorns forming on the oak trees….


The goat’s rue is really taking off all over the place. It’s one of those ‘weeds’ that I noticed first about five years ago, and now it seems to be everywhere. I wonder what has changed to make it so prevalent? It’s rather lovely regardless.

I am always surprised by the microhabitats in the cemetery, too. Some graves are completely covered in white stonecrop (Sedum album), but the plant can be found nowhere else.


The privet is in flower, and that creamy, slightly sickly smell is attracting insects from all over the place.

And there is creeping jenny at its feet, which I hadn’t noticed in this spot before.

And then finally, a speckled wood butterfly decides to sunbathe on the path, where it blends in perfectly.

It’s such a pleasure to take a slow amble, without thinking that I needed to be home to get stuck into studying or some other activity. Of course, in October it will be full-throttle again, but for the next few months I intend to recharge my batteries and remind myself of how much I love the nature that’s around me, low-key and subtle as it often is.

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