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!

Thursday, 20 August 2015


So here I am - or, rather, - there I was, drinking coffee and thinking what a blight recycling bins are on the country and wondering how come a dropped cigarette counts as litter while thousands upon thousands of whacking great plastic containers on wheels don't . . . when I noticed this pretty pattern made by the shadow of lavender in a little vase on the table at which I was drinking coffee.

You may have noticed I've been somewhat AWOL recently and one of the places I've been AWOL in has been Oxford.

Oxford is a funny place. If you are a student you can flit through pleasant courtyards and quads on your way to concerts and plays and lectures on mind-bendingly interesting subjects. But if you aren't . . . it's a busy, dusty, noisy, not entirely pleasant place. I am biased. I don't like crowds and I don't like traffic. Oxford is pretty well made from both so I'm sunk.

But there I was, none the less, drinking coffee outside a second-hand bookshop (which also sold cake) admiring lavender shadows and wondering about wheelie bins . . .  

. . . . when my eye fell on this little plant against the bookshop step. It even has a seed plopped up against it.

Urban wild plants don't always get a good press. But I'll tell you what, they're a million times prettier than the millions of wheelie bins with which we are supposed to be saving the world. A bin is plastic. This little plant is alive. Ultimately the bins will disintegrate. They will leave no offspring. (And no-one will mourn them. Surely no-one will mourn them?) Whereas the future snuggles gently against this little plant while the world walks by.

Do you have a post about Street Plants? If so, do join me and leave a link to it in the box below. (It'll stay open till the 25th.)

And as for posts . . . they will continue erratic or invisible (?) for a while longer. And Loose and Leafy will grow tatty and somewhat un-tended until my AWOLing ends in the middle of October - by which time we'll all be getting old and full of sleep and looking forward to burning the leaves. (I like Autumn!)

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Flighty said...

A thoughtful post, and interesting pictures. I agree what you say about plastic bins and Oxford. Flighty xx

Philip Strange said...

I also agree with what you said about Oxford, it has some lovely bits like the Modern Art and the Ashmolean (although I like it less in its new tarted up image) but it's also easy to feel an outsider because of the conspicuous cash and privilege that ooze from the colleges.

Rowan said...

I've only visited Oxford once and I rather liked it but I was looking round some of the colleges so probably didn't get a true picture. I don't like crowds and traffic either - nor wheelie bins:)

Ann J. said...

I loved your words about the future snuggling up against the plant. Unfortunately, in our world, I wouldn't be surprised if someone did mourn wheelie-bins! Lovely post!! Hugs, Ann

Hollis said...

You are right, Lucy. Urban plants ARE beautiful! and often awesome in the home fate gave them.

John Wooldridge said...

A very thoughtful post, enjoyed it immensely.

amanda peters said...

I still look out for plants when I'm out in urban areas, just to day I had to call at a large store, I noticed four Large white butterflies they had found a small Buddleia tree growing out of the curb. After looking round I had wished I had brought my camera as they were many wild flowers to be found in this carpark next to a very busy road. You never know what you are going to find if you take the time to look.
Amanda xx

Anonymous said...

Thanks again for hosting this great idea! I have added my offering of summer streetplants.
I hope you are enjoying your break from the heavy blogging, but I look forward to your return in autumn.
By chance the plastic wheely bins are causing a bit of a furore in Cardiff at the moment as more people are being forced to use them instead of bin bags. OK for me as I have somewhere to hide the bins and we have the smaller ones anyway, but many people without gardens or garages are annoyed...
All the best :)

Donna said...

I tend to not like crowds either or bins...I wish I did have street plants here....they would be fun to explore.

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Sorry to take so long before replying, folks.

Mike - during the election I was specially struck by the way representatives of the parties couldn't avoid being photographed alongside these dreadful bins.

Hello Philip. Oxford is an odd place for a visitor. One is invisible to students, townspeople and tourists alike.

Hello Rowan. Oddly, despite disliking Oxford, I did like the street where this bookshop is. Jericho (how did it get a name like that?) seems a lively area.

Hello Ann. I expect the bin manufacturers would mourn their passing. They must be making a fortune.

Hello Hollis. I enjoyed your urban plant post too.

Hello John. Pleased that you liked the urban plants post. (Which is turning out really to be the Wheely Bin post!)

Hello Amanda. It's maddening when one finds good things to photograph when one's camera is left at home.

Hello Pat. Where people live in terraces, with no access from the street to back gardens or yards, the result is unsightly rows of wheelie bins. Round here every house has two, plus a bucket with a lid for food waste and a large tray for putting glass jars and bottles in.

Donna - why do you not have street plants where you live? Is it too rural or do you have over assiduous street cleaners?