US social scientist Kenneth Boulding : ‘If you believe exponential growth can go on in a finite world, you are either a madman or an economist’.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

10/10/09: Southwark and Lambeth's progressive parks and planting

I was pleased to see good use being made of both native and 'garden' plants in the parks that I came across on my back-streets walk from London Bridge to Waterloo station, and in general the more relaxed, less formal styles of planting being adopted.

Red Cross Park on Redcross Way has a nice pond, a wildflower mini-meadow under development, and some 'European new wave' type plantings of perennials and grasses.

I saw one of the species of Darter dragonfly on this boardwalk by the pond, but couldn't get close enough for a certain ID as to which one.

Native water plants here include Marsh Marigold (centre top) and Bogbean - which will have beautifully fringed white flowers (the thing that looks a bit like a Broad Bean plant, bottom).

A number of seedlings of Meadowsweet and of the non-native ornamental grass Stipa tenuissima had 'escaped' into the crack between the pavement and the outside face of the garden's boundary wall.

Mint St park had varous formal elements like the clipped Box in the foreground and stepped grass area beyond.

The flower beds had an eclectic mix of garden ornamentals like Lavender, Cotton Lavender, Sage, Rosemary, hardy Geraniums, Asters and Japanese Anemone and natives such as Teasel and Common St. John's-wort, plus self-sowing garden herbs like Lemon Balm and Borage.

There was a single Common Stork's-bill in some thin gravel.

Further on it was good to see street trees in what might be considered less promising locations.

Tree close to railway viaduct on Burrell St.

Junction of Chancel St and Treveris St.

An example of the welcome new idea of growing food round blocks of flats.

I would rather see areas of grass like this - frequently mown to within an inch of its life - formally or guerilla-gardened than 'sanitise' brownfield sites, since the latter can be much more valuable for wildlife.

There was a stand of Bracken in a park on Ufford St.

Waterloo Rd park, Lambeth, at the junction of Waterloo Rd and Baylis Rd. The large plant on the right is Thorn Apple (Datura stramonium) , an introduced 'weed' from central and south America in the Potato family which, being highly poisonous, was presumably not planted here deliberately.

The garden plant Rudbekia laciniata under Silver Birch.

One end of the park has a stream with water plants such as Water Mint. The other had the cut-down remains of a man-made meadow, with what looked like a very similar mix to the one at Hall Place, Bexley, namely species such as Bird's-foot Trefoil, Black Knapweed, Ox-eye Daisy, Lady's Bedstraw and Sainfoin. There was also the remains of some kind of Primula, plus Red Clover, Hemlock, Wild Carrot, Musk Mallow, Hop and a single plant of Gorse.
Man-made meadow in Waterloo Rd. park - the yellow of Lady's Bedstraw in the foreground, looking towards Waterloo terminus station.

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