A Sunday Stroll Around East Finchley

Viper’s Bugloss (Echium vulgare) outside the Monkey Puzzle nursery

Dear Readers, what a pleasure it was to go for a walk around East Finchley on this sunny Sunday afternoon. I’d thought that summer was pretty much over, but for the next few days it appears to have returned, and so we went for a wander through Cherry Tree Wood and back home, just to see what was happening. First up, there are some great plants in the grassy area outside the Monkey Puzzle nursery, right opposite East Finchley Station. This Viper’s Bugloss was doing very nicely, and various late bees were enjoying it greatly.

Ribbed Melilot (Melilotus officinalis)

The Ribbed Melilot, a member of the pea and vetch family, was also doing very nicely.

Common carder bee enjoying the Iceland poppies.

I thought at first that these were Welsh poppies, but on closer inspection I think they might be Iceland poppies (Papaver nudicaule), and  very pretty they are too, in their yellow and orange shades.

Then we headed into Cherry Tree Wood, which was busy with families playing football and badminton  and basketball and tennis. The woods themselves are a shady haven.

There are still a few Speckled Wood butterflies about.

A nice flower border has been planted up in front of the gents toilets. Hopefully this will deter at least some of the graffiti that appears with monotonous regularity.

And the mosaics on the ladies toilet have been completed, and very nice they look too. They each feature an image of something that can be seen in  Cherry Tree Wood, from the apple and pear in the top row (they’ve been planted in the orchard) to the Archer himself, whose statue can be seen at East Finchley station. Well done to Debbie Singer, who made the whole thing, which took over a year. You can read more about it in this month’s community newspaper, The Archer, here.

And here’s the orchard, doing very nicely, thank you. Apparently you only need five trees for an orchard, which is an incentive to plant some fruit trees if ever I heard one.

And then finally it’s home via the unadopted road. It’s always interesting to see what’s going on here, and today I was rewarded by a patch of sunflowers of different varieties.

How splendid they look against the blue sky, and how popular most of the flowers were with bees! Later, if the flowerheads are allowed to stay, they may well attract finches and other small birds, but for now it’s mainly all manner of pollinators.

However, it’s interesting to see that one variety of sunflower alone didn’t seem to have any bees at all.

And it’s easy to see why – there’s no obvious pollen in the midst of all of those petals. It’s always worth bearing in mind that even plants that are normally irresistible to bees, butterflies and hoverflies may not be attractive to them if they’re double-flowered – sometimes they simply don’t produce the nectar or pollen required, or sometimes the flowers are just too complex for the insects to navigate. Still, in a patch of plants that punches so far above its weight in terms of of pollinator value I think it’s absolutely fine to grow something whimsical, just for the sake of those fluffball flowers. After all, gardens have to be places where humans can be happy too, and there’s no reason at all why a wildlife garden can’t be a sanctuary for people, and a pleasure to be in.

3 thoughts on “A Sunday Stroll Around East Finchley

  1. Liz Norbury

    It’s good to see Viper’s Bugloss – one of my favourite flowers – still in full bloom in September round your way, just as it is here. In some years, it has had a rather shorter flowering season.

    I followed the link to The Archer community newspaper to read more about the mosaic in Cherry Tree Wood – and was surprised to also find another story, about a huge fire which destroyed a mansion in The Bishop’s Avenue in July. This house had been built on the site of the Tower Maternity Annex of the North Middlesex Hospital – where I was born!

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      Goodness Liz! The cheek of it. My maternity hospital in Stratford was torn down a few decades ago. You’d think the least they could do is pop up a couple of blue plaques to us both.


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