Spring is an amazing time on the Greenway, with new plants appearing every week for us to enjoy. It’s a pleasure to get out there and experience the diversity of wildflowers on our doorstep. Sometimes appearing en masse taking over large areas or hiding in more secluded locations waiting to be discovered, wildflowers live up to their name as you're never really sure what you may find.

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

The Common Bluebell will be a familiar wildflower to walkers and native nature lovers. It is most commonly found within woodlands and is an indicator of our ancient woodland ecosystems. The flower is best suited to the quiet and sheltered woodland environment and it makes most use of the sunlight that reaches the woodland floor in Spring before the trees come out in full leaf casting a heavier shade.

Photo credit: Paul Hunter

Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris)

BBC Radio Ulster Gardeners Corner visited us in CS Lewis Square this week and commented on the large Pine trees being used as the backbone of the new planting there. We used a number of different Pines to create a bit of Narnia but the versatile and native Pinus sylvestris (Scots Pine) was one of the first on our planting plan.

Allium triquetrium (Snowbell) 

Allium triquetrium (snowbell) is a plant you might have considered as many other things, possibly a white bluebell, wild garlic or maybe a snowdrop. This could be why it has attributed so many names, most commonly; three-cornered garlic, three-cornered leek, onion weed, three-sided snowbell, to name a few. It can be identified by its garlic /onion smell, its three narrow leaves and an upright three angled stem that bears white bell shaped flowers. The plant is about 30cm high.

Willow (Salix Babylonica)

This recognizable tree is often associated with our waterways and wetland gardens but actually originates in dry areas of Northern China. It is a very hardy deciduous tree which grows very quickly reaching 20–25m in height but has a relatively short lifespan of 40 to 75 years.

Weeping willow is recognisable by its long light green leaves (which are alternate and spirally arranged), on thin stems that hang like pendulous curtains to the ground. The small, narrow leaves appear in early spring so now is a great time to see them while other trees are only starting to bud.

The Alder Tree

Alder (Alnus glutinosa) 

The Common Alder is a native riverside tree in the UK and a particularly appropriate choice for our first ‘What’s Growing on the Greenway’ blog. Its branches grow upwards creating a conical shaped medium sized tree which sometimes has two or three main trunks. The twigs can be sticky to the touch which gives rise to the second part of its latin name,glutinosa, (which means sticky!)