Life Lately…Riverbank Reds

Lately according to Instagram I’ve been seeing red! Especially along the river bank…Riverbank reds

Top right going clockwise: My Red Mary Jane Clogs from Lotta from Stockholm /Graffiti covered by wild ivy/Detail of Rosebay Willow Herb/ Red bamboo-like stems of the Himalayan Balsam (Jumping Jack).

I love to walk by the river and my clogs have been a constant companion this summer. The river bank I frequent is pleasantly wild and overgrown at this time of year, nature is reclaiming everything, even the urban art. I can get a bit obsessed with identifying wildflowers and I discovered this pretty purple flower is Rosebay Willow Herb -which brought back memories of my wonderful writing teacher Berta who often used this poem Willow Song as an example in class.

Finally, this last image (top left) really has me seeing red. Trough researching this alien looking plant with red stalks I discovered that it is Himalayan Balsam an aggressive invasive species which has really taken over this summer. It has weird red roots and stalks and a pinky purple flower, and its nickname is Jumping Jack due to its explosive seed pod that it uses to spread itself far and wide. Normally a non-native species wouldn’t bother me but this one forces out other wildflowers completely covering every spare inch of ground from June with it’s giant flower stalks (it can grow from 6-10ft tall!). However from October onward it leaves a barren wasteland in it’s wake and the riverside becomes a depressing bomb-sight. I’ll admit I’m worried about it spreading, it’s not far from the woodlands and it’s already crossed the main road.

jumping jack- himalayan balsam

I think I may be going a little bit mad here- but just look at it! It’s over whelming as far as the eye can see.  It’s not even pretty. What can I do about it, it’s on public ground?  I’d be interested to hear if you’ve ever come across anything like this in the comments. What’s making you see red this summer?


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