Until July 2017, documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say! Meanwhile . . . I've now moved to Halifax in West Yorkshire. Click on the link below to collect the new URL. Don't forget to follow there!

Sunday, 15 June 2014


Mexican Fleabane (Erigeron karvinskianus) beside downpipe in garage forecourt
Mexican Fleabane (Erigeron karvinskianus) beside downpipe in garage forecourt.
June 12th 2014
Before the post proper - a big thanks to everyone who took part in the June Tree Following update - whether by writing about their own trees or by reading the posts of others. The characters of the trees (and to some extent of those following their progress) is emerging as the year passes - and it's fascinating. Some trees have found their identities or had them revised; it's easier to work out what they are once leaves have opened. Maybe by starting with bare branches we will all find it easier to identify trees in winter? Some trees have run into trouble. Some have burst out of iffy patches. Over the summer months we will need to become even more efficient as detectives - what is happening when nothing seems to be happening between now and autumn? I anticipate our July and August posts will be amongst the most creative and revelatory.

To see the branches of 'my' tree, I have to crane my head back - it's so very tall. So this week I thought I'd look down. The hedgerows seem high at present - with fennel being feathery and the umbeliferous flowers seeming like inside out umbrellas (except prettier). It's all a big green blur, for all the little flowers growing in the big plants' shade.

Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) behind the bins in a car-park recycling area.
Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
June 15th 2014

So I looked to the streets - or, more particularly, to the car-parks, where plants are more likely to grow separately. Here, they are more distinct. And astonishing. And pretty.

And not just pretty (like the Erigeron (Mexican Fleabane)) above. Resilient and surprising like this Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) behind the bins in a car-park recycling area.

Poppy and buddleia beside white pipes by chain link fence round building site.
Poppy by building site. See the buddleia to its left? Opportunists both!
June 15th 2014
Where there's a new building, there's often more new building in progress nearby. It's how towns spread! On the edge of the car-park belonging to a three-year-old supermarket, something else is being built. I don't know what. The ground is cleared. Machines are there. And pipes and chain link fences all around. Where flowers grow.

Close up of red poppy showing seed pod inside.

Faded beauty!
There were newly opened poppies too, bright red and with unblemished petals. But in this flower we see the seed pod forming. It's like watching a caterpillar turn into a chrysalis - the old and new entangled. But it's not just that..

Aren't the curls and dents, and wrinkles just as beautiful as the flat blandness of a young flower. (Say yes!) I'd be hard put to it to tell one new poppy from another. But once they begin to die - that's where their individual character creeps in. Or leaps in, in the case of a poppy, because the petal stage doesn't last long! 

For more Loose and Leafy posts about plants about town - click HERE.
For more about Tree Following - click HERE.


Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Hi Lucy! I fell in love with Erigeron karvinskianus while travelling through Europe. It grows everywhere and is a carefree plant. I just bought several plants for my garden and hope it'll be a nice filler in between my perennials.

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hello Tatyana. The erigeron is really pretty, isn't it? Round here it grows in very dry, sunny places - out of walls and beside doorsteps . . . or, in this case, rammed up against drain pipes! I hope it grows well in your garden.

Hollis said...

"yes!" says Hollis (re dying poppy)
I always enjoy your urban botany posts, maybe I will get around to doing one this summer.

amanda peters said...

The Poppy looks beautiful, I love looking for plants in "unusable" places, I see a post coming "Urban flower hunt"or "Strangest place to find a plant"
Amanda x

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hello Hollis. I do hope you do an urban plant post as I haven't the faintest idea what your built-up areas are like. (Glad you agree about the poppy!)

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hello Amanda - yes! that would be good - to do an urban plant post. Somewhere in a town is also likely to be good ground to find the 'strangest place to find a plant'.

Lyn said...

I love your faded poppy, it is beautiful xxx

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hello Lyn - it is, isn't it!

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hello Lyn - it is, isn't it!

Diana Studer said...

I have a tree for July

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a beautiful fading poppy, you're so right, much more character at that stage, though poppies always have a certain fragile beauty

Stewart M said...

Where there is opportunity, there will be plants!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Anonymous said...

As usual a most enjoyable, and interesting, post.
Veg Plotting did a post about this the same plant very recently. Flighty xx

Irene said...

Lovely post ... love your close ups :)

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hi Diana. Pleased you have a tree - do let me know what it is and I'll put it on the Tree Following list. Does this mean your False Bay dream is coming true?

Hello Crafty Green Poet. Something I find difficult about wild poppies is that when their petals are newly opened they are so bright I can't actually see them. They become a kind of red gap in my vision.

Anonymous said...

I love street plants, too. But you have chosen three really beautiful ones. The fleabane positively glows (unlike the common daisies I see around), the thistle is architectural and as for the poppy - very "painterly".
All the best :)

Donna said...

Lucy I really love when you go to street level and find blooming plants...you make us pause to look where we may ignore some beauty blooming.

Dartford Warbler said...

I love finding opportunist plants in unlikely places.

My Tree Following post is done at last. Better late than never!

PlantPostings said...

You are so observant, Lucy, and I enjoyed everything included in this post. I appreciate your inspiration and encouragement--both with the tree following and, in general, looking for the cues in nature that often go unnoticed.

Countryside Tales said...

This is an interesting post, Lucy. I've been doing something similar here by monitoring an experiment in the garden where I've left some areas alone and in order to see what grows. The willowherbs are by far the most competitive colonisers in our garden, along with thistles and lesser trefoil. Selfheal is also doing well and redshanks and oriental poppies have sprung up along with scarlet pimpernel in places I haven't seen them before - they must have been sitting in the seed bank waiting the right conditions to bloom. It's all Fascinating Stuff. CT :-)