A Greenway in Colour - 52weeks of plants growing along the Greenway.

When we started writing the What’s Growing… blog we, the Paul Hogarth Company, had just finished designing then supervising the construction of the Greenway’s landscape and were keen to share some detail about this new part of the City with the people who live near and use this great community resource during its first year.


The chosen plant of the week this week is an oldie but a goodie, having been around for 300 million years. It is the oldest plant we have featured on our What's Growing on the Greenway blog.  It would probably be the first plant you would imagine if asked to picture the earth, when dinosaurs roamed.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

The bright yellow flowers and spherical seedhead (clock) make this plant instantly recognisable. The mid-yellow flowers provide its common English name Dandelion. Translated from the French Dent de lion, meaning: lions tooth, referring literally to the plants coarsely toothed leaves. Its common folk name wet the bed refers to the strong diuretic effect of its roots. Similar names are also found in French and Italian. 

Grass (Poaceae)

Our plant this week is the most abundant plant on Earth, so common it grows almost everywhere, with varieties even growing in the Arctic. The Poaceae (Grass) family has over 12’000 different species which include cereal grasses, bamboos, natural grasslands and cultivated lawns. Grassland (habitat where grass is predominant) cover approximately 41% of the Earth’s surface. Grasses also play an important role within the vegetation of many other habitats, including wetlands, woodland and forest.

Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

Marsh marigold is a widespread plant found in damp areas such as riversides and ponds. It is quite a conspicuous little spring flower which looks quite like a common buttercup. It is in fact a member of the buttercup family, but its bright yellow flowers are much larger and has very rounded, glossy green leaves. Caltha palustris is an herbaceous plant which grows to about 30cm high on thick stocky stems before it dies back in autumn. Its flowers shoot up above the leaves while still curled up before opening to enjoy the spring sunshine.

Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)

Hyacinthus orientalis (commonly; hyacinth, garden hyacinth or Dutch hyacinth), is a plant familiar to most gardeners. From the family Asparagaceae, Hyacinth’s originated along the coast of Turkey, brought west by the Greeks and Romans. They were introduced to Europe in the 16th Century and are now widely cultivated everywhere in thet temperate due to its strongly fragrant flowers. These appear exceptionally early in the season but can be forced to flower at Christmas time as an indoor plant where they are less vulnerable to wind and weather.

Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna)

Ficaria verna, commonly known as lesser celandine or pilewort is a native wildflower, which is widespread in woodlands, hedgerows and on riverbanks. Therefore, it is no surprise that we have lots of it along the Greenway. You may not always notice the glossy heart-shaped leaves as it is very low growing and can be hidden among taller grass areas. However, its yellow star-like flowers are one of the first woodland flowers of the year and can often carpet woodlands and riversides with a splash of colour in March or April.

Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica)

We're all familiar with the saying that a weed is a plant growing in the wrong place; where it is not wanted or where it causes damage or harm. With this sentiment in mind, our plant this week is undeniably considered locally, nationally and even globally as a weed. Fallopia japonica, commonly known as Japanese knotweed, is a large, herbaceous perennial of the knotweed and buckwheat family (Polygonaceae).

Narcissus Daffodil

Over the past few weeks we’ve focused on the theme of spring flowers. Their importance and contribution to any year cannot be understated. In this respect spring flowers have become symbols, suggesting renewal, in what is undeniably the least colourful part of the year. With their striking yellow displays, daffodils remain the true heralds of spring. Planted in autumn they spend several months developing roots before bursting into flower during spring.

Beech (Fagus Sylvatica)

Following on from International Women’s Day we thought it appropriate to recognise the Common Beech which is the Queen of our woodland trees (Oak being the King).

Common beeches are beautiful woodland and landscape trees at any time of year but particularly evocative in winter and early spring when their thin grey bark is evident and the ground is often still covered in their crispy leaves which are very slow to decompose.