Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca)

Vicia cracca -  commonly known as Tufted Vetch may also be referred to as Cow Vetch or Bird Vetch, possibly because the seeds are used as a highly nutritious bird feed and also because it is grown by farmers as a feed for grazing cattle. Tufted Vetch is a member of the pea family and although we wouldn’t recommend eating it, parts of the plant are edible.

Ivy (Hedera Helix)

Ivy is a familiar plant to many of us but as one of the UK’s few native evergreens it is one that we should possibly pay a little more attention to next time we see it. It often climbs our mature trees or trails along the ground sometimes forming a dense carpet of dark green vegetation. There are many varieties but common Ivy Hedera helix has deep green leaves with creamy or pale green veins and up to five points on each. They are quite leathery, shiny, and paler coloured on the underside.

Blue Cedar (Cedrus atlantica glauca)

The Blue Cedar is a striking evergreen conifer native to the Atlas mountains in Morocco. English botanist P.B. Web discovered the tree in 1827 on a visit to Tangier. By the 1840's, they were being grown in the UK and were later introduced successfully to the United States also.

Strawberry Fragaria × ananassa

It’s Wimbledon time again and even if you have no interest in tennis what a great excuse for adults and children to enjoy local strawberries over the next few weeks while getting one of your five a day. Technically not a berry at all (as a berry has seeds on the inside) strawberries are the only fruit that wear their seeds on the outside.

Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)

The Pin Oak (sometimes called Spanish or Swamp Oak) is native to North America where entire forests of it grow. It was introduced to the UK in the 1800’s and has become a common sight in our parks and gardens due to it being very fast growing and easy to transplant compared to other Oak species. It likes both free draining and moist soils and is pollution tolerant so makes a great street tree for our towns and cities.

Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)

Not to be confused with its smaller relative, the ‘Ox-eye’ Daisy is our largest native member of the daisy family. At a height of up to 65cm, its large round flower heads sway in even the slightest breeze. The flower is about 5cm in diameter and normally contains around 20 pure white florets (these look like petals) which surround a bright yellow ‘eye’. The ‘eye’ is made up of many tiny flowers that create, the one large yellow disc. The plant produces an abundant number of flat seeds that when released remain viable in the soil for 2-3 years.

Living the Green Way

This week we celebrated all things sustainable with a ‘Living the Green Way’ event which aimed to help us all learn about living greener and more sustainable lives.

Along with attending our first Connswater Community Greenway ‘What’s Growing’ photo exhibition (coming soon to a Library and Leisure centre near you!) we popped down to two of the planting and growing events which were demonstrating what you could grow along your Greenway.

Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii)

The ‘Common’ Spotted-Orchid gets this name because it is one of the most widespread of our native Orchid species. Orchids are one of the largest plant families in the world, with approximately 25,000 different species. This type alone is said to have 30 different variations of which Kew Gardens have only officially recognised 7 on their Word Checklist of plants. So the Orchid family is big and still growing.

Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris)

Cow Parsley is a tall plant you may recognise from rural roadside verges. It’s also thriving on the Connswater Community Greenway appearing rapidly over the last few weeks along our riversides, woodland edges and hedges, bringing a bit of the country to the city.

Wildflowers

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.