Here’s a plant I don’t expect to see growing in the cracks of a pavement: Violet! There were window boxes nearby, so presumably self-seeded from there.. though it’s also at the bottom of a drain pipe, so maybe the seeds washed down from higher up..
Combining two themes from previous posts – street plants and graffiti – here is my contribution to Loose and Leafy’s linkbox page: Street Plant Bloggers.
This artwork is to be found on the side of a pub in Highgate, but recently has often been hidden by a board left resting against the wall. On my way to a job last week and with a few more stops before my destination, I spotted that the board wasn’t there for a change. I jumped to get off the bus to take a photo of the painting with the weed I knew to be growing at the foot of both the wall and Audrey Hepburn.
The urban wild plant in question is, I believe, Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus). To confirm my suspicions, I could’ve broken off a piece of the plant to see if it dribbled latex, typical of the Poppy family to which it belongs. But I didn’t think of it – I was in a a rush, remember… Traditionally, its latex has been used to remove warts, and the plant was popular in cottage physick gardens. It’s not a weed I spy very much. Others nearby include Dandelion. At the moment, with cooling temperatures and daylight hours shortening, Chickweed is germinating, preferring these conditions to those of high summer. There’s lots of it about, fuzzing up pavement cracks and edges.
For more posts on pavement plants, go to looseandleafy.blogspot.co.uk
A crocodile is the last thing you’d expect to see in a copse, whether the snap-jaw is real or otherwise. Yet this reptilian graffiti surprised me during a walk on Tooting Graveney Common. Normally, I’d deplore graffiti being applied to a tree; this example I don’t mind as its ludic imaginativeness made me smile, and I doubt it did harm to the tree.
On the other side of London, a Local Nature Reserve is experiencing a growth in this rogue art. Previously tolerated, people are now wondering if the graffiti along Parkland Walk has begun to get out of hand as the spray painting has spread out from the underbellies of the Crouch Hill bridges. One Sunday afternoon, as many as eight artists were seen blatantly working, despite this being a crime. The impact on wildlife, in that particular instance, was an obvious decline in birdsong within 100m of the activity, where the toxic fumes were reported as being overpowering. In addition to the effect on avian behaviour, rare ferns were damaged when sprayed over. The Black Spleenwort (Asplenium adiantum-nigrum) only grows in this one place on the Walk and it is the metallic paints which seem particularly noxious; the ferns struggle to survive a coating.
I’m not against graffiti per se; some of it demonstrates talent and creativity. However, the last few times I’ve rambled along Parkland Walk, I’ve noticed an increase in the tagging sort, like the territorial pissings of pooches on lamp posts. In my mind, this kind of graffiti is sheer vandalism. I must say, I’d object to even the artistic type if it proved to be detrimental to wildlife. There is a balance to be struck between encouragement of artistic ability, and respect for nature.