Twenty species I’ve been confident of counting; half a dozen I don’t know; another half dozen that I probably don’t recognise as species; and how many that are not in flower?
Let’s say forty in total and all along a stretch of waste ground (redundant site, eyesore – label it what you will) that runs on my way to Waitrose here in boomtown Portishead. 95% of the residents would call it an eyesore, those that see it at all. Most drive by in their 4x4s and MPVs, plugged into someone else’s opinion about phone-tapping, the Beckhams’ new girl or whatever the latest opiate is.
But the weeds – and let’s reclaim their name; none of this wildflower nonsense – are a beautiful, free show at this time of year. Yes, they are weeds. It’s in some of the names – hedge bindweed; hawkweed; common knapweed. Reclaiming the name could make gardeners and council departments think twice about their weedkillers.
The Trail is worth sauntering, not walking: you have to get down and look, especially for plants as dainty as lady’s bedstraw and harebells. Just watch where you’re treading. It starts by four Bristol whitebeams, pictured, although one is ailing – maybe a metaphor for the growing sickness of the city’s natural environment.
I feel a story coming on – something to do with the death of the last whitebeam. I could have incorporated it into Cyanistes…