Pits, Pies and Privet

Dear Readers, I took a quick walk along my street in East Finchley today, and, as usual, I found lots to look at and think about. First up, some lovely people have planted up the tree pits around the street trees, and this one in particular is a lovely mixture of native plants, yarrow, poppies, cornflowers, clover and this little yellow flower which I think is ribbed melilot, and which might well crop up as a Wednesday Weed…

Yarrow and Poppy

Ribbed melilot

Red Clover


Further along the road, a clump of Mexican fleabane looks as if it’s been caged in, but isn’t too unhappy about it. This is such a happy little plant: it grows anywhere and although modest is a great favourite with hoverflies, those very underrated pollinators. 

I’ve noticed that a lot of people are moving away from box as a hedging plant, and no wonder – most of them have been absolutely destroyed by the caterpillars of the box moth. However, privet seems to be making a comeback, and I’m happy about that – I love the creamy smell of it in the summer (it always reminds me of the scent of lilies, without the sickly overtones), and the bees absolutely love it.

And finally, the magpies are up to no good, as usual. This one is a fairly young one, and was very curious about whatever was hiding in the interstices of this satellite dish. I only hope that the signal isn’t degraded.

And so, as usual, a leisurely stroll outside presents all kinds of interesting things, and is enough to lighten my mood regardless of what else is going on. Plus, magpies are so incessantly curious that they put me in mind of small children, always on the verge of getting into trouble and impossible to leave alone without some mischief taking place. No wonder they’re doing so well in our cities, they remind me of Dickensian urchins.

3 thoughts on “Pits, Pies and Privet

  1. Ann Bronkhorst

    I wonder if any studies have been done into which plants do best in street tree pits vis a vis dog pee? Moisture good but other substances less good.

  2. Liz Norbury

    I’m very fond of Mexican fleabane, known here in Cornwall as ‘Cousin Jack’ – which was also the name given to 19th and early 20th century Cornish miners who travelled to find work in the USA, Australia and South Africa (I have distant relatives in all these places), as well as Mexico. When the miners returned to Cornwall, it seems that many brought back Mexican fleabane plants, which soon escaped tiny cottage gardens to find a home in traditional stone Cornish hedges – where they still thrive. As you’ll know, the plant’s official name is Erigeron karvinskianus, which I’ve always found hard to pronounce, so I’m not surprised it became known as Cousin Jack!

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      That’s a great story, Liz – I didn’t know about the ‘Cousin Jack’ name. I think it’s a great little plant, very resilient and the hoverflies seem very fond of it.


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