Sunday, 19 April 2020

SPRINGTIME IN THE UNOFFICIAL COUNTRYSIDE.

The Coronavirus lockdown has limited peoples access to the outdoors. Outdoor leisure pursuits and contact with nature is now restricted to what can be found locally on ones own doorstep. Yet as author Richard Mabey said in a 1975 film based on his book The Unofficial Countryside...

The natural world won't be so easily dismissed. In waste patches and factory backyards, in gasworks and railway sidings, nature fights back. For without meaning to, we have created in our cities a vast fabricated reserve for wildlife; A network of green oases, makeshift feeding stations and barricaded hide-aways... a real and refreshing sanctuary.... an unofficial countryside. 

In the north-eastern region of the Dutch city of Haarlem lies the Waarderpolder neighbourhood. A former industrial terrain now converted into a business park with a scattering of residential addresses.
Amongst the new-builds and renovation sits an abandoned patch of land. Over the past few years it has began to transform itself from an unpaved carpark into an untouched wilderness for wild plants and small animals.

During a sunny spring afternoon I headed out on a short one hour stroll to see what sights there were in this overlooked patch of burgeoning nature.

Small note: Botany isn't high on my list of skills, so if I've made my mistakes in identifying any of the flora,  or if anyone can name some of the species unknown to me, then give me a shout or send a messenger pigeon.


An abandoned part of picturesque Haarlem in the Netherlands.

A birds-eye view of the site.


1. Rapeseed (Brassica napus).
2. Rapeseed (Brassica napus).
3. Blackberry bush (Rubus).
4. Seedhead of the common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis).

5. Ground ivy (Glechoma herderacea).
6. Bulbous buttercups (Ranunculus bulbosus).
7. Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium).
8. A type of coniferous cypress tree (fam. Cupressaceae).

9. Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale).
10. Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale).
11. Dove's foot crane's bill (Geranium molle).
12. Broad-leaved clover (Trifolium pratense).

13. Common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis).
14. Front left: Common mullein (Verbascum thapsus), center: Common sorrel (Rumex acetosa), back center: Ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata), right: 
Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium).
15. Some type of mullein or dock??
16. 
Ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata). Also known as buckhorn plantain.
17. ???
18. Common sallow (Salix cinerea).
19. Common sallow (Salix cinerea).
20. Some sort of grass.

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